New City of London tower 'will respond positively' to Tower of London world heritage site

A proposed new 305-metre City of London tower would 'respond positively, in concept, scale and mass' to the nearby Tower of London World Heritage Site, despite a recognition that the scheme would have some 'major' impacts on views from within the site, according to plans submitted for the scheme.

A visualisation of the finished Tulip development (pic: Foster + Partners)
A visualisation of the finished Tulip development (pic: Foster + Partners)

A full planning application has been lodged with the City of London Corporation for 'The Tulip', a new tower that would be sited next to 30 St Mary Axe, commonly known as the Gherkin.

The application seeks consent for the demolition of existing building and structures on the site and the construction of a building rising to a height of 305.3 metres.

This would comprise a mixed-use visitor attraction, including viewing areas, an education facility, and restaurant/bar use, together with a retail unit at ground floor.

There would also be a new two-storey "pavilion building" comprising "the principal visitor attraction entrance with retail at ground floor level", the application says.

According to architects Foster & Partners, which also designed the Gherkin, the tower "seeks to provide an unparalleled vantage point to view London".

The firm said the viewing galleries "will offer visitors an engaging experience with sky bridges, internal glass slides and gondola pod rides on the building’s façade that will appeal to people across all age groups".

A heritage statement published alongside the planning application says the scheme "has been carefully designed through a process of pre-application consultation with stakeholders to respond positively, in concept, scale and mass, to the Tower of London World Heritage Site".

It says the scheme would "contribute a distinctive high-quality new landmark element to the skyline of the Eastern Cluster – and to London’s skyline as a whole".

However, it also says that the impact of the proposed development on views "from within the Tower of London and its local setting" would range from "minor" to "moderate and major in other locations".

But it adds that the level of harm to the "Outstanding Universal Value" of the Tower of London World Heritage Site as a whole is "judged to be ‘less than substantial’ in National Planning Policy Framework terms".

Planning consultancy DP9 is acting as agents for the scheme.

The planning application (ref: 18/01213/FULEIA) can be found on the City of London website here.

The City of London's new emerging draft local plan, published earlier this month, says that developers will be "encouraged" to submit plans for tall buildings in a bid to meet rising demand for office space. 

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

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