The new communties secretary upsets heritage bodies by giving go-ahead to controversial City tower

The Walkie Talkie tower in London has been given the go-ahead by new communities secretary Hazel Blears.

The 37-storey skyscraper designed by Rafael Viñoly had been opposed by English Heritage, which argued that the building would spoil London’s skyline.

In September last year former Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly called in the design at 20 Fenchurch Street after UNESCO threatened to add the nearby Tower of London to the list of its threatened buildings.

Kelly wanted to look at “the impact of the proposals on the skyline of the City of London, including views of St Paul’s Cathedral”.

Former Riba president George Ferguson was one of those who criticised the Rafael Vinoly’s designs calling the tower a “child’s concept”.

The £300m Land Securities project is due for completion in 2011.