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Thumbs down for new US embassy

London mayor Boris Johnson has threatened to refuse plans for the £275M US embassy because they do not include a contribution to London’s £16bn Crossrail link, a condition that applies to all major developments in central London.

In addition, Government watchdog, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, has rejected draft designs for the site near the south bank of the Thames.

The commissioners - including architects Piers Gough and Jason Prior, who drew up the London 2012 masterplan and Olympic Park — are likely to have considerable influence with Wandsworth Council.

They write in a letter to planners: “We call into question several key urban design principles of the site layout: the relationship of the development to Nine Elms Lane, the nature and deliverability of the proposed public-realm elements outside the site boundary and the form of the site footprint in relation to new road layouts and adjacent sites.”

The embassy website reports that four architectural firms have been shortlisted: Kieran Timberlake, Morphosis, PEI Cobb Freed and Richard Meier.

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