Planning chief applauds ‘constructive relationship’ with architects

Planning applications for three new skyscrapers in the City of London are being worked up, with two likely to be submitted before Christmas, Building’s sister title BD has been told.

The towers are planned for sites close to the stump of the Pinnacle, “deep in the eastern cluster” of tall buildings around Bishopsgate.

Senior City planner Gwyn Williams said he was in discussions over three towers whose planning applications were imminent.

As the corporation’s newly promoted head of design, he will be “solely responsible” for ensuring their design quality meets the City’s expectations.

“One in particular is a very considered response from an architect I have the utmost respect for,” he said, declining to name the practice.

“I have worked very closely with him and there’s a mutual respect. It’s a good example of cooperation between architect and planner to come up with a building that hopefully the public will see the value in.”

Richards told BD in an interview earlier this summer that he thinks planners are in a strong position to push for design quality because they are independent in a way that architects, with their clients, cannot be.

The news comes as the Cheesegrater threw open its doors to the public for the first time during Open House weekend. Ken Shuttleworth, co-creator of the Gherkin which is obscured from some angles by the Cheesegrater, has argued for new viewing corridors to be introduced to protect contemporary buildings as well as St Paul’s Cathedral.

But Richards told BD: “I am not of the view that the Gherkin should be protected. It’s part of the eastern cluster.”

All the new schemes are likely to have public viewing areas or roof gardens. Richards has said that one of his priorities is making the City more “inclusive” of ordinary people.