City of London to review Skyscraper Policy

Posted on 9 September, 2015 by Neil Bird

In the wake of the Walkie Talkie’s Carbuncle Cup award, the City of London is about to review its policy regarding tall building development bdonline (Building Design) reports.


Many have expressed concern about the impact of skyscrapers on London’s skyline, with calls from some quarters for a halt to the number of towers being granted planning permission.

On the other hand, developers and planners point towards London’s growing population, claiming that tall buildings are the only solution to the need to provide more business and residential accommodation.

Now, concerns over plans for a tower almost as tall as The Shard next to the Cheesegrater have prompted one councillor to speak out against the ‘laissez faire’ approach to planning in the City.

Tabling a question at this week’s planning committee meeting Patrick Streeter asked what ‘pointers’ had been given to the developer of the building due to replace the Aviva Tower at No 1 Undershaft.

Calling for a reassessment of policy, Streeter described the current building as ‘good, appropriate and well-spaced’ before claiming that planners are allowing skyscrapers to become ‘crammed in’ like ‘passengers in a rush-hour tube’.

“It’s getting out of control. The City should take a pause to rethink,” he said. He also proposed the pedestrianisation of Leadenhall Street and St Mary Axe to relieve the ‘claustrophobia in the air’.

Responding to Streeter, chief planning officer Annie Hampson refused to discuss the pre-application discussions being held with the developer of the proposed new tower (Aroland Holdings) due to commercial confidentiality.

However, she insisted that the impact of the growing number of tall buildings in the City had not been ignored, saying it was being looked at ‘very closely’.

Committee chairman Michael Welbank said that Streeter had ‘raised important issues’ and pencilled in a review of the City’s tall buildings policy at the committee’s next meeting on October 6.

The proposed replacement for the Aviva Tower will be significantly taller than the Cheesegrater and the building due to replace the stalled Pinnacle office tower, making it the tallest building in the City. At a reported 304m it will be just shy of The Shard (309m) at London Bridge.

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