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News in brief: 73-storey skyscraper approved for London; Scottish councils face financial challenges

Words: Laura Edgar
The City of London

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 29 November, 2016

73-storey skyscraper approved for London

The planning and transportation committee of the City of London Corporation has granted approval to a skyscraper almost as tall as the Shard.

Nicknamed the Trellis, 1 Undershaft in London’s financial district will be the second-tallest building Western Europe, after the Shard.

The building has been designed by architect Eric Parry for developer Aroland Holdings.

The Trellis will be built on the site of the Aviva Tower, which will be demolished. It is due to be completed at some point in the 2020s, as tenants still occupy the Aviva Tower.

Chris Hayward, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s planning and transportation committee, said the Trellis is a truly unique building that fits in well with the City’s history, as well as our future ambitions for growth.

“Over the next 30 years I expect that we will need to deliver office space for more than 50,000 extra workers within the Square Mile, and this development is important in reaching that end goal.”


Author defends North London community centre

Author of White Teeth, Zadie Smith, has spoken about the value of public spaces at a campaign event against the demolition of The Granville and the Carlton Community Centre in Kilburn.

Brent Council plans to bulldoze the two community buildings, which house a nursery, despite the site being listed as an asset of community value. The proposal includes housing, an enterprise hub and community space.

Campaigners have launched a petition to save the community centres.

Speaking at a ‘Saving the Granville’ event on 25 November, Smith said public spaces need to be defended “much more fiercely than they were in the past”.

"Emotion has a place in public policy; public spaces are social goods that matter to people."


Scottish councils face financial challenges

Councils in Scotland face “significant challenges” managing their finances in future years, according to a report from the Accounts Commission.

It suggests that local authorities were in good financial health in 2015/16, however, they face a difficult future.

The commission warns that rising demand for services and falling income could leave councils with a combined funding gap of £553 million by 2018/19.

Its report suggests that councils need to “change the way they work” and make long-term plans if they are to achieve the savings required.

The report can be found here.


Calls for a devolved Network Rail in Scotland supported

Think tank Reform Scotland has backed calls for the Scottish Parliament to be given full responsibility over Network Rail.

It said its research suggested that more than half of delays to trains in Scotland were the fault of Network Rail rather than ScotRail.

Devolving the organisation would allow a “clear line of accountability” when things go wrong, said Reform Scotland.

This comes amid continuing concern about delays and cancellations to ScotRail trains since Dutch firm Abellio took over the contract last year.

Read more about this on the BBC website.

Image credit | Shutterstock