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'Muddled' Boris overturns tower decision and feeds Crossrail coffers

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has overturned the decision not to build a new 63-storey tower on the Isle of Dogs, a move described as: “muddled” by detractors, but the developer is now contributing £4M to Crossrail in the process.

Tower Hamlets council refused the developer’s planning application in August, but his position gives him the power to look again at planning decisions and overturn them if necessary.

Boris made the decision following a hearing at City Hall today.

Boris said: “I have now had the chance to consider the Columbus Tower application in great detail and, more importantly, had the opportunity to listen carefully, and in person, to the arguments for and against this proposal.

Tallest in London

“I am satisfied that all the major concerns have been addressed and I believe the application will not only strengthen the success story of the Isle of Dogs, but will be hugely beneficial to the whole of London.

“As well as being suited to the Canary Wharf district with its distinctive tall buildings, the overall size of the development means that it will deliver a huge contribution to the cost of Crossrail, which is central to the continued success and prosperity of both Canary Wharf and the entire capital.

“Considerable sums will also be invested to bring lasting benefits to the local community and therefore I have no doubt that this development must be allowed to go ahead,” he said.

The building will be the tallest in London at 237m and is projected to cost £700M, with £4M going to Crossrail and more than £1M towards affordable housing in the area.

Muddled

Labour Assembly Member John Biggs said Johnson was: “Muddled.”

“This is another policy u-turn from the Mayor. He was opposed to tall buildings now he approves them, and he said he wouldn’t meddle in local decisions but here has overruled the will of local people. This muddled, mixed message way of governing is not the kind of leadership London needs.

“He needs to be sure to avoid any accusations of developers buying planning permissions. Of course Crossrail is hugely important but the Mayor should not use decisions that will impact massively on East London as part of a trade-off. Will he be approving enormous tower blocks in Kensington & Chelsea or his other favourite boroughs? I doubt it. More and more we are seeing how little he cares for East London.”

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