Westminster consults on plans which could see 'significantly taller buildings'

Westminster could see 'significantly taller buildings' and additional storeys added to existing buildings, under options for consideration in a consultation document published this week.

Westminster: council consults on increasing building heights
Westminster: council consults on increasing building heights

Westminster City Council yesterday published Building height: Getting the right kind of growth for Westminster which seeks opinions on ways to "find space for more jobs and homes to meet the needs of a growing population and economy".

The results of the consultation will feed into work on revisions to the council’s City Plan planning policy document. The council said it would bring forward detailed suggestions for formal public consultation later this year.

The document says that "while there are still some larger-scale opportunities in places like Paddington and Victoria, the scale of growth means we have to look wider".

In particular, the document says, "there is potential to get more out of sites by having more intense development, building higher than at present – or where appropriate, considering significantly taller buildings".

It adds that, "at the other end of the scale there can be careful adaptation or extension of existing buildings. We need to look at all these options – whether individual higher or tall buildings, clusters of them, or increasing densities by adding additional storeys to existing buildings in the right locations".

The document says that national government and the mayor of London are "encouraging these kinds of approaches".

The consultation says that tall buildings are an issue "that many people are passionate about and views are often polarised".

But it says that the council would like to "try and find a middle ground".

"There are many advantages to increased height – there is limited land for development in Westminster, land prices are high and the demand for development is increasing. Building higher can be a strategic approach to get the most out of sites with high level of public transport", the document says.

Cabinet member for planning and public realm, cllr Daniel Astaire said: "London’s population is expected to grow by almost 25 per cent by 2041. That means we have to act now to find the best way to manage that growth and ensure that Westminster remains the centre of a leading world city.

"Protecting the unique character of Westminster, as well as the World Heritage Site, is absolutely paramount. However, there is an important balance to strike to ensure we do so while also delivering the jobs and homes that will continue to position Westminster as the centre of London. This means we will have to, where appropriate, increase the density in order to cater for the expected growth".

The consultation will run for eight weeks and can be found here.

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