News | February 2, 2023

British Library Extension Gets Green Light From Planners

Rogers Stirk Harbour Partners/British Library

 Visualisation of the British Library extension

Last year, the British Library and its development partners Stanhope plc and Mitsui Fudosan UK Ltd (SMBL) submitted a planning application to extend, reorient and open up its St Pancras site. Following an extensive consultation process with our users and neighbours, the plans have now been approved by Camden Council’s Planning Committee.

The development will respond to the changing needs of our users, creating brand new spaces for culture, learning, research and business, which will invite anyone to come in and explore in ways that suit them.

Alongside its work to open up the Library online and through public libraries across the UK, this transformation will enable millions more people to access the Library and to make their own space for thought, connection or discovery.
Through its partnership with SMBL, the extension will provide the opportunity to:

  • Provide approximately 100,000 sq ft of new space for the British Library, including new exhibition galleries, a bespoke new learning centre and additional event spaces.
  • Further open up the Library with new, more informal entrances on Ossulston Street and Midland Road, and, at the heart of the extension, a new foyer to host events with local communities and businesses
  • Welcome more learners of all ages with new programmes and facilities
  • Increase the range of services for people starting or growing small businesses, including, for the first time, dedicated maker spaces.
  • Offer more opportunities for skills and career development, and new jobs, particularly for people living locally and for Camden’s young people
  • Celebrate local culture and heritage and develop events, exhibitions and opportunities for and with the local community
  • Create new outdoor green courtyards and walkways for everyone to enjoy, as well as a dedicated community garden at Ossulston Street
  • Offer commercial space to organisations and companies of all sizes, looking to make their base within the Knowledge Quarter, creating a thriving ecosystem for local and global businesses alike
  • Establish a permanent home for The Alan Turing Institute


Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, said: “We are thrilled that our plans to extend our site at St Pancras have been approved by Camden Council’s Planning Committee. The proposals will enable us to provide a brand new public space for London that’s connected to our local community and open to the world. This long-planned extension will make it possible for even more people to access and enjoy the Library, with a host of flexible new spaces including a new bespoke learning centre and spectacular new exhibition galleries. Working with our partners, we look forward to collaborating with our neighbours in Camden and beyond as we develop our site for everyone.” 

David Camp, Chief Executive of Stanhope (representing SMBL Developments Limited, a joint venture between Stanhope Plc and Mitsui Fudosan UK Ltd) said: “These proposals will deliver much needed new space for the British Library, significant areas of new public realm, and new lab-enabled commercial space for businesses and organisations wanting to locate in the Knowledge Quarter, especially those in the Life Sciences sector. The next step is for the Greater London Authority to consider the application, and we will work with officers to finalise the necessary legal agreements.”