I am writing to correct an impression that may have been made by your article on the Beetham Tower proposal (9 December).
Councillors and officers of Southwark council have not yet come to any conclusions about the proposal for this 68-storey tower, which is now the subject of a planning application. The proposal is, as it should be, being carefully assessed against national policy, the London Plan and our own policies, including the emerging Southwark Unitary Development Plan.
Southwark has been discussing the issues surrounding tall buildings with a wide range of stakeholders for some time with a view to providing a clearer explanation of how the London Plan and our own policies will be applied in the north of the borough.
Members asked officers to do further work on the detail of a draft tall buildings strategy before it is put out to consultation. This further work is needed to further clarify the definition of “tall buildings” as it is used in the London Plan and the emerging Southwark Plan and to further refine the criteria concerning the location of tall buildings. Although members made this decision for a variety of reasons, I can confirm that it was not made as a consequence of any existing planning applications. Indeed, tall buildings that are designed to the highest quality have in the past been given approval in Southwark, such as the “Shard of Glass” by London Bridge.
In conclusion, until the draft is complete it is too early to say what effect it will have on applications. In the meantime, each application will continue to be considered on its merits.
John East, head of planning and transport, London Borough of Southwark