pounds 20m `bubble' for London's city hall

A SPECTACULAR glass-fronted building overlooking Tower Bridge is to be the pounds 20m new home for London's mayor and assembly.

Nick Raynsford, the minister for London, will end months of speculation when he announces today that the London Bridge City project has been chosen to house the mayor's office, an assembly chamber and the authority's 400 staff.

Sir Norman Foster's 10-storey development on the Thames will become the headquarters of the Greater London Authority when it is completed next year, The Independent can reveal.

Whether Ken Livingstone, Jeffrey Archer or Mr Raynsford himself will inaugurate the building as Britain's first directly elected mayor remains to be seen, but the Government is satisfied the project is a fitting home for the authority.

The landmark new building was seen by Tony Blair as the ideal site because of its stunning views over the heart of the capital and its proximity to Tower Bridge, a symbol of the city across the globe. The development, which will be ready six months after the authority elections in May 2000, features a new pier to allow the mayor and visitors to arrive by boat.

Ministers were impressed by Sir Norman's futuristic design, with fully glazed facade to allow the assembly chamber a clear view of the river, and believe it will become a 21st-century icon reflecting the authority's "go-ahead" spirit.

The building will have an open-top roof terrace reached by two enclosed glass lifts that travel outside the building. A 10th-floor gallery, described by Foster and Partners as "London's Living Room", will host major events and banquets of up to 200 people.

Close to the new Jubilee Line Tube station at London Bridge, the building was also selected because of its excellent transport links and environmentally friendly design.

The scheme has beaten the other contender for the authority site, a classical office block near the British Museum in Bloosmbury. The two projects were whittled down from an original list of 50 last year.

The Bloomsbury scheme was withdrawn temporarily from the bidding earlier this year when English Heritage objected to its design, but was resubmitted with support from its local council, Camden.

Niall Duffy, leader of Southwark council, said he was delighted by the move as it would provide up to 10,000 jobs for local people.

"From the outset, we have been convinced that Southwark and this very special site are the ideal location for a landmark building that represents London's aspirations for the 21st century," he said.

The Greater London Authority will have an annual budget of pounds 3bn and take responsibility for public transport, planning and policing in the capital from 3 July 2000.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Programmer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Bridgend based software de...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Printer

£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A specialist retail and brand c...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Class 2 HGV Driver - with CPC

£26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Haulage company based on the Thorpe Indu...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence