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London mayor rejects Tulip Tower

Words: Laura Edgar

Sadiq Khan has directed the City of London Corporation to refuse planning permission for the controversial skyscraper on land adjacent to 20 Bury Street.

The proposals were for the demolition of existing buildings and structure and their replacement with a 305.3-metre tall building. It would be a mixed-use visitor attraction with viewing area and a restaurant/bar areas, with retail use at ground level. A new two-storey building would accommodate a visitor entrance and public roof garden.

The applicant was Bury Street Properties with the scheme designed by architect firm Foster + Partners. The planning committee at the City of London Corporation approved the application on 2 April.

In a planning document on the application, the London Review Panel says the building, known as the Tulip or the Tulip Tower, “would not constitute the very highest quality of design required for a tall building in this location” due to its height, form, design and appearance. It would “compromise the ability to appreciate the outstanding universal value of the Tower of London World Heritage Site”.

The panel called the public benefits of the scheme limited and insufficient to outweigh the harm, resulting in a “poor quality, unwelcoming, unnecessarily confined pedestrian environment”.

It concluded that it was "unable to support The Tulip because it does not think it represents world class architecture, it lacks sufficient quality and quantity of public open space, and its social and environmental sustainability do not match the ambition of its height and impact on London’s skyline".

The planning document can be found on the Greater London Authority website.

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