Tulip Tower, City of London

In a rare move, Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, appealed directly to the City of London planning committee this morning (2 April) to turn down the Tulip developer’s application.

However, the committee approved the proposal. It was not unanimous and it was acknowledged it was a finely balanced decision that hung on a view about the perceived public benefits versus harm.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive, said: “This building – a lift shaft with a bulge on top – will cause permanent and irreversible damage to the setting of the Tower of London, and in turn, the image and identity of the capital. It extends the so-called ‘Eastern Cluster’ of very tall structures, creating a cliff edge to the group of tall buildings close to the Tower.

“Harming our heritage surely cannot be justified by the anticipated benefits of this new attraction - essentially a high-level viewing platform and small education space - but there are many of these in London.

“As the Government’s principal adviser on the historic environment, with statutory duties to protect heritage for everybody, we stand by our objection. We don’t raise concerns to the majority of new tall buildings that are proposed in London, but we strongly believe that this project is the wrong building in the wrong place.”

What happens next?

The Mayor of London has 14 days to decide whether to direct the Council to refuse the application i.e. reverse their decision, or decide to ‘call in’ the application in for his own determination.

2 April 2019

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