Government refuses to grant planning permission for Tulip skyscraper

There will be no Tulip blooming over the City of London after the government refused to grant planning permission to build the 305-metre skyscraper.


Developers had hoped that Michael Gove, the housing and levelling up secretary, would overturn a decision by Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, two years ago to reject the project amid concerns that the Tulip was of “insufficient quality”.


However, planning inspectors sided with Khan and recommended that the appeal be dismissed. Khan said that he was delighted.


Among the inspectors’ main concerns was the “vast quantity” of reinforced concrete that would be used in construction, both for the foundations and the main shaft through which the lifts would have run.


“This is one of the least sustainable materials due to its high embedded energy and difficulty in recycling,” David Nicholson, lead inspector, said in his report.


Officials noted that the Tulip, designed by Foster + Partners, would be the tallest building in the City and might encourage other developers to match its height, but were conscious that this was likely to hamper the views from its viewing platform — the tower’s primary function.


“There are no plans for its re-use when it has served its purpose as a viewing tower, whether because its views might be curtailed by other towers, its advantages eclipsed by other viewing opportunities or other attractions or that it might simply fall out of favour,” Nicholson wrote.


Given the cost of dismantling the tower, inspectors were concerned that the owners might have little incentive to knock it down, which could leave an “eyesore or a large public liability”.


Nicholson and his team agreed that “there would be harm to the setting of the Tower of London” and other heritage sites.


A spokesman for the Tulip said that it was disappointed by the government’s refusal.


The Times (Tom Howard) -

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