Mayor urges greater protection for views of St Paul's

The London mayor has called on ministers to agree to the inclusion of further boroughs in the list of those that must undertake additional consultation on the impact of tall buildings on views of St Paul's after a row over the construction of a tower which campaigners say has 'destroyed' a protected view of the cathedral.

St Paul’s: protected view from King Henry’s Mound after construction of Stratford tower (image credit: Paula Redmond)
St Paul’s: protected view from King Henry’s Mound after construction of Stratford tower (image credit: Paula Redmond)

Photographs released by the Friends of Richmond Park group show the half-built Manhattan Loft Garden scheme, on the site of the Olympic Park, sitting directly behind the dome of St Paul’s when viewed from King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park, nearly 15 miles away.

Speaking last week at a mayor’s question time session, Sadiq Khan said that he had asked his planning team to investigate the matter.

He told members of the London Assembly that the site of the tower - which was granted planning permission in 2011 - "does not fall within any of the areas where specific additional consultation was or is required in order to safeguard the view of St Paul’s Cathedral from this point".

Khan said that, while the view was first identified and given planning status in 1991, and that the London View Management Framework (LVMF) had since been updated several times, "it appears no-one would have anticipated that a building so far away from Richmond and more than several kilometres behind the dome of St Paul’s might be visible in this way".

Going forward, Khan said, "consideration needs to be given to including more distant boroughs in the list that must undertake further consultation to prevent this from happening again".

But he said that this would require government agreement, unless the necessary powers were to be delegated to the mayor, "as has been sought".

Under the LVMF, it is the responsibility of the planning authority – which in this case was the Olympic Delivery Authority – to notify appropriate consultees, which in this case would have included Historic England (then English Heritage), the Royal Parks and the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s.

However, Historic England and St Paul’s have said they were not consulted.

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