Plans to transform London's skyline by building Europe's tallest tower suffered a setback yesterday when the Government ordered a planning inquiry.
John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, waived his power to approve the proposal for the 66-storey structure at London Bridge after concerns were expressed by heritage groups and local authorities.
The futuristic £600m skyscraper, dubbed the "Shard of Glass", would be 1,016ft high, 216ft taller than Canary Wharf, currently Britain's tallest building.
If approved, it would take five years to build, and would overtake the Commerzbank AG Tower in Frankfurt as Europe's tallest building. The project would involve demolishing a 1960s office block, adding apartments, offices, shops, a health spa and fitness club to the site.
Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: "The London Bridge tower would put a spike through the heart of historic London, destroying views of two of the nation's most loved buildings, the Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral."
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