Westminster City Council and English Heritage will contest Secretary of State's decision to grant planning for South Bank tower

Westminster City Council and English Heritage will today mount a joint legal challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission for the Doon Street Tower on London’s Southbank.

UK communities secretary Hazel Blears approved Coin Street Community Builder’s plans for the 43 storey tower block in August, acting against the recommendation of a planning inspector following a public inquiry.

Coin Street plans to develop private apartments in the tower, designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, and use the income generated from these apartments to subsidise public facilities such as a local swimming pool.

English Heritage said these community benefits could be delivered from another scheme developed on a more suitable site.

English Heritage chief executive Simon Thurley said: “This scheme would cause serious harm to London’s historic environment. The Secretary of State took the view that this harm was outweighed by the proposed community benefits. In reaching that view the Secretary of State did not consider if the community benefits could be delivered in a less harmful scheme.”

Westminster City Council said the 144 metre tower will ruin London’s historic landscape and block the view from the Blue Bridge in St James’s Park, a view that has remained unchanged for over a hundred years.

Westminster City Council’s Deputy Leader, Robert Davis said: “It is disappointing that the Government has so far failed to grasp fully the importance of protecting our heritage. The preservation of St James’s Park, one of Britain’s most beautiful parks, is far more important than creating monstrously tall towers which will destroy London’s historic skyline for generations to come.”