London mayor blocked City’s decision to give 305m tall scheme green light
London mayor Sadiq Khan has reiterated his opposition to Fosters + Partners’ controversial Tulip tower.
In a letter to Robert Jenrick, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government who will rule on the £500m scheme, Khan said: “I can think of many other projects that would bring far greater benefit to London and to Londoners for the same £500m price tag of the Tulip.”
Members of the City’s planning and transportation committee had given their backing to the project at a meeting last April – where government heritage adviser Historic England’s concerns over the tower’s impact on views of the nearby Tower of London world heritage site were rejected.
But the size of the project, which included multiple observation levels – including external gondolas, a restaurant and “sky bar”, and education space – in a 12-storey structure at the top of a slender concrete shaft, meant the City’s backing was subject to Khan’s approval.
Last July, the mayor used his planning powers to instruct the City to refuse consent despite their support. Khan said the proposal “would not constitute the high standard of design required for a tall building in this location” and would cause harm to the “outstanding universal value” of the Tower of London World Heritage Site.
In his letter to Jenrick, Khan repeated his concerns from last summer and added: “The Tulip is an inappropriately sited visitor attraction, which would make no such economic nor positive social contribution to London that would outweigh its harm to a World Heritage Site, the City’s skyline, and the public realm at ground level.”
Last month, Tulip developer, billionaire financier and Gherkin owner Jacob J Safra, formally launched an appeal over its rejected plans.
As well as Foster’s, others working on the scheme include cost consultant Alinea and construction consultant Skanska.
Dates for the hearing have yet to be set.