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US firms 'favour low rise buildings' after 11 September attacks


US CORPORATIONS are rethinking future office plans in London in the wake of the World Trade Center disaster, a leading British planning expert claimed this week.

Addressing the urban affairs sub committee of the House of Commons, Westminster City Council planning and transportation director Carl Powell said talks with US companies considering a move to London had revealed a shift in attitude.

'Before 11 September, the trend was for more mergers to create bigger companies, which then concentrated all their staff into one HQ building - often a megatower, ' Powell said.

'But since the terrorist attacks, a lot of them seem to be considering the campus style of development, with lower rise towers clustered together.'

The sub committee, which reports to the transport, local government & the regions select committee, was examining the implications of building tall and if the government should have a clearer policy on the subject.

Earlier, it had heard evidence from the Corporation of London, which is lobbying for permission to build up to 1Mm 2of new floor space over the next decade, mostly in tower blocks up to 50 stories tall clustered together on the eastern fringes of the Square Mile.

Corporation policy and resource committee chairman Judith Mayhew told the sub committee that the City had no option other than building towers as there were no sites left for Broadgate style groundscrapers or campus developments.

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