City of London approves new 'tallest building'

Members of the City of London's planning and transportation committee have resolved to approve a 62-storey, 200,000 square metre office building described as the Square Mile's biggest to date.

22 Bishopsgate, at the centre of the City of London's eastern cluster of tall buildings
22 Bishopsgate, at the centre of the City of London's eastern cluster of tall buildings

The structure, to be named 22 Bishopsgate, is earmarked for the site of the part-built "Pinnacle" skyscraper. This secured planning permission in 2007 and started on-site, only for construction to be halted in 2012, leaving a nine-storey core stump.

At 295 metres, the new building, being developed by AXA Investment Managers Real Assets and Lipton Rogers, will be around ten metres shorter than the Pinnacle would have been.

However, the building would have a bulkier design that would provide around one-third more floorspace.

It would include 188,875 square metres of offices, 533 square metres of retail space, 5,485 square metres of restaurant and bar space and a 4,900 ssquare  metre public viewing gallery on the 58th floor that the developers pledge would be free. 

According to a planning report, Historic Royal Palaces, Royal Parks and the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Islington all objected to the development on the grounds of its impact on views of the cityscape.

Historic Royal Palaces had not objected to the previous scheme, but said the upper-storey breadth of the new proposals was problematic. Government conservation advisory body Historic England did not object.

Recommending the tower for approval, Corporation of London planning officers said the building would fit in with the authority’s strategic goals of providing new business space, would not harm views, and would deliver a "significant" public gallery.

The report to yesterday’s meeting said the building would be the largest so far proposed in the City and would deliver approximately 16 per cent of the additional office floorspace sought in policy CS1 of the corporation's core startegy "to meet the needs of projected long-term economic and employment growth". 

The report added: "The development would impact on the setting of a number of designated and non- designated heritage assets but would not cause harm to their significance."

Officers said the tower would not harm the setting of St Paul’s Cathedral or the Tower of London World Heritage Site.

The proposals will now be referred to London mayor Boris Johnson. City Hall planners said the mayor had previously been supportive of the scheme "in strategic planning terms", but had urged that the gallery proposal be "appropriately secured" by planning conditions.


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