Judge clears way for 'blot on the landscape'

Objections to a 43-storey residential block on London’s South Bank were thrown out by a High Court Judge today.

Both English Heritage and Westminster City Council sought to block the proposals, which were approved by Hazel Blears last August.

Councillor Robert Davis, Westminster City Council's cabinet member for the built environment, railed against the ruling, saying that the tower would be “a blot on the landscape for generations to come… nothing short of architectural vandalism.”

The planning permission for the tower was contested on the grounds that it would undermine the “rich architectural heritage of Westminster…which has 11,000 listed buildings. The construction of the wrong type of buildings could destroy its look for future generations.”

English Heritage said that it was “disappointed" by the decision.

The Doon Street Tower, designed by architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, will stand at 168 metres, taller than anything else currently on the South Bank. When completed it will be the fourth tallest building in the capital after Canary Wharf, the NatWest Tower and the Post Office Tower. The construction will include 329 apartments, a sports centre and a swimming pool.

The 13-acre site received planning permission for an 111-metre-tall hotel in 1974 and another high-rise construction during the 1980s, but neither project materialised due to costs.

The planning inspector at the time of the decision last year was Philip Wilson, who recommended that the scheme be refused following a three-week public enquiry. Blears defended her decision to approve the construction by saying that the benefits to the community would outweigh the costs.

The judge ordered that the objectors pay the Secretary of State’s costs.