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43-storey blocks to go ahead in London

Appeals by both English Heritage and Westminster City Council to block the building of a 43-storey tower on London’s South Bank have been thrown-out by a judge.

Westminster City Council’s deputy leader Cllr Robert Davis, said: “We are very disappointed that the court has allowed these towers to go ahead, as they will be a blot on the landscape for generations to come.

“We are not against the principle of tall buildings providing they are in the right place and do not damage important views, but the impact these buildings will have on some of London’s most popular visitor attractions is nothing short of architectural vandalism.”

Architectural vandalism

The building will contain 29 residential units, a community sports centre and a swimming pool, had been approved by former Communities Secretary Hazel Blears.

The construction of the Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands tower block, which is contracted to Coin Street Community Builders, was also slammed by English Heritage.

Announcing his decision, Judge David Mole QC gave the protesters permission to appeal, saying: “There are genuine questions to answer and although I am of the view that the answers are sufficiently clear, it is difficult to say that there is no real prospect that the Court of Appeal might see things differently.”

The judge also ordered Westminster City Council and English Heritage to pay the Secretary of State’s costs.

Huge costs

Group Director of Coin Street Community Builders [CSCB] Iain Tuckett said: “We welcome the judge’s decision, however we regret the huge costs to taxpayers and ratepayers - and to ourselves - caused by Westminster Council and English Heritage’s unnecessary legal action.”

“The scheme will provide those living, working and studying in this part of central London access to urgently needed facilities and will increase participation in sports and improve health. It will also create 329 new homes,” he said.

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