Designs for controversial Paddington skyscraper approved

Westminster council last night approved designs for a controversial 42-storey curved skyscraper dubbed the ‘Cucumber’.

The 460ft residential tower scheme in London’s Paddington basin has come in for criticism by design watchdog Cabe, which said the tower’s circular form “presented challenges” in fitting in with the surrounding area.

But Westminster council gave the initial designs the green light, describing the proposed skyscraper as an “iconic addition to London’s skyline”.

The scheme by billionaire brothers Simon and David Reuben includes 222 flats, a boutique hotel with terrace cafe, a roof top sky bar, shops and a nursery.

The tower, designed by Robin Partington Architects, will be 124 ft higher than Big Ben and 95 ft higher than St Paul’s Cathedral.

Councillor Alastair Moss, chairman of Westminster’s planning committee, said the development had the “potential to transform this part of Westminster, from what has previously been an industrial area into an exciting hub of residential, retail and leisure facilities.”

The planning also gave initial consent for three other towers at the site: a 17-storey office building including shopping space, a 21-storey building containing 201 flats and a 15-story residential building with retail and medical facilities.

Moss said: The architectural designs are impressive. They could deliver an iconic addition to London’s skyline and serve as a focal point for Paddington and the surrounding area.

“There is a good mix of housing and employment-generating uses in the plans and it is a sign of great confidence that residential and economic development continues in Westminster.  

“We will now wait for further details of the environmental impact and the other planning benefits to be provided as part of the development before a final planning judgement is made.”

The Reubens will draw up more detailed plans to be considered by the council later in the year.