Secretary of State says two towers in Southwark by developer Circleplane should be scrutinised

Two towers in Southwark designed by Wilkinson Eyre have been called in by the Secretary of State for a public inquiry.

A letter sent to Southwark Council’s planning department on behalf of the Secretary of State said 20 Blackfriars Road should be scrutinised to see if it was designed in accordance with CABE’s guidance on tall buildings, was sustainable enough, provided enough affordable housing, and conformed to both Southwark Council and the GLA’s unitary development plans.

Developer Circleplane wants to build two towers on the site; one 23-storey office tower and one 42-storey residential tower. There will also be lower-rise buildings of up to seven storeys fronting the street.

The scheme received planning approval in January. CABE’s design review panel gave it a “warm welcome,” saying it was “impressed by the depth of thinking” behind the scheme; however, it said it was “disappointed” that it only aimed to reduce carbon emissions by 10%.

20 Blackfriars Road is located across the road from Ian Simpson’s Beetham Tower, which has also been called in by Secretary of State.