A row has erupted between conservation quango English Heritage and Westminster council over plans by architect Grimshaw to redevelop the grade I-listed Paddington station in west London.
Westminster council last week granted planning permission and said it was minded to grant listed-building approval to Network Rail for the redevelopment plans after Grimshaw reduced the height of air-rights on office towers from 47 storeys to 13. Gross floor area has been cut 28% from 114,300 m2 in the original application in 2000 to 75,200 m2.

However, EH expressed disappointment over Grimshaw's plans to demolish the fourth barrel vault of the station designed by 19th-century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. EH is holding talks over alternative schemes that would retain the vault and restore "key parts of the remaining station".

The proposed redevelopment will open up the station to Paddington canal basin to the east. It follows on from Grimshaw's modernisation of the station's main concourse, completed in 1998.

The scheme will be financed by speculative offices.