City of London towers will be 'encouraged' in corporation's new draft local plan

Developers will be 'encouraged' to submit plans for tall buildings in the City of London in a bid to meet rising demand for office space, according to the Square Mile's new emerging draft local plan.

City of London: new draft local plan published
City of London: new draft local plan published

Members of the City of London Corporation’s planning and transportation committee this week voted to publish its new draft local plan for consultation.

The document, which sets out a vision for the Square Mile up to 2036, says: "Further tall buildings will be encouraged where they can make a positive contribution to their surroundings and the skyline."

A previous iteration of the plan published in 2015 said further tall buildings were "likely to be needed" to accommodate growth.

The corporation’s planners estimate that employment in the City cluster - an area stretching from south of Liverpool Street station to Leadenhall Market - could increase from 115,000 people currently working there to more than 200,000 once all current permissions are built out and occupied.

Under the emerging policy, towers would be "encouraged where they can make a positive contribution to their surroundings and the skyline, adding to the tall building cluster in the east of the City". 

Applications should feature "world class architecture and sustainable and accessible design" while "conserving heritage assets" and taking account of protected views, the plan says.

"The intensification of tall buildings will have cumulative environmental and transport impacts which need to be carefully managed," it adds.

The draft plan also introduces a new focus on sustainability and an obligation for developers to help reduce air pollution by cutting down the number of delivery vehicles.

Developers would be "expected to contribute to freight transport consolidation measures to reduce air pollution", it says. 

New developments and refurbishment projects would be required to include features aimed at improving biodiversity and reducing rainwater run-off, air and noise pollution.

Plans to relocate the Museum of London and to develop a Centre for Music alongside the Barbican arts centre are also included within the document.

Chris Hayward, chairman of the corporation's planning and transportation committee, said: "The local plan envisages a more attractive, dynamic, inclusive and modern Square Mile in the future, while recognising that we must also cherish our unique heritage assets.

"This is a once in a generation opportunity to drive cutting-edge and sustainable economic, environmental and cultural change in the heart of London."

The City Plan 2036 will be open for public consultation on Monday 12 November until the end of February 2019.

In July, plans for a 56-storey skyscraper in the City of London were approved despite concerns about the impact on views of St Paul's Cathedral.

The City of London Corporation planning team is led by Annie Hampson, who previously held roles in Islington and Kensington & Chelsea, and was awarded an OBE for services to planning in January this year.

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