Public inquiry into south London towers favours Ian Simpson Architects and Wilkinson Eyre

A cluster of towers designed by Ian Simpson Architects and Wilkinson Eyre have been given approval by the communities secretary.

The towers, which are intended to be built on the Blackfriars Road in South London, had been the subject of a joint planning inquiry last September. One, the 52-storey Beetham tower, has been designed by Ian Simpson Architects and the other, the 42-storey 20 Blackfriars Road, by Wilkinson Eyre.

The Beetham tower was the most controversial of the two, and the communities secretary Hazel Blears called in the £150m scheme to examine its impact on the skyline, and whether it would fit in with the aspirations of the London Plan. But Blears found that on matters of height, massing and environmental impact both developments were in line with government and local policy.

In the letter of approval, the secretary of state noted only that the balance of tenure was not in line with local policy, but said it was a “minor” conflict, and did not “attract significant weight.”

It remains to be seen whether or not either tower will start construction in the short term. Beetham has signed a deal with Dubai-based hotelier Jumeirah, but it is not known if the developer behind 20 Blackfriars, Circleplane, has a tenant lined up for the smaller tower.