English Heritage has this week attacked the architecture quality of Kohn Pedersen Fox's design for Heron Tower in the City of London.
The attack was made on Thursday by Philip Davies, EH's regional director for London, while under cross-examination at the public inquiry into the project.

During angry exchanges with Christopher Katkowski, counsel for the tower's developer, Davies said height and bulk were only its two most obvious flaws. "There are other considerations, particularly the cross-bracing and the scale of the northern elevation," he said.

The objection is significant because it was thought that EH's concerns centred on whether the 183 m tower would interfere with views of St Paul's Cathedral; the quality of Kohn Pedersen Fox's design has been taken largely for granted.

Katkowski attacked EH for not raising the design issue earlier. Davies responded: "Discussion of the detailed form would have been a waste of time when we had fundamental objections to the principle of the proposal."

His comments raise the possibility that design changes will have to be made even if the tower intended height is approved.

  • The inquiry has also revealed that the Heron Tower issue has split English Heritage. Katkowski cited evidence from three meetings last year that demonstrated disagreement between senior EH figures. At one meeting of its London advisory committee, the minutes said the "majority view of the committee was the impact of the building did not warrant refusal".

    Davies disputed the existence of a split, saying: "Our clear view is that it must be opposed."