City of London approves skyscraper despite claimed effect on Tower of London's setting

The City of London Corporation last week approved a 36-storey, 94,336 square metre mixed-use tower, despite objections related to its impact on the Tower of London World Heritage Site.

A visualisation of the approved 50 Fenchurch Street. Pic: City of London
A visualisation of the approved 50 Fenchurch Street. Pic: City of London

The authority’s planning and transportation committee backed the building at 50 Fenchurch Street, designed by architect Eric Parry for applicant the Clothworker’s Company.

The building is planned to comprise 88,064 square metre of office floorspace across 35 floors and 800 square metres of retail space.

The plans also include a new livery hall and offices for the Clothworkers’ Company and The Clothworkers’ Foundation, and the relocation of the 12th century Lambe’s Chapel Crypt to a new site.

Alastair Moss, chair of the committee, said the new building would provide “a significant increase in flexible office floorspace, meeting one of the primary objectives of the City's local plan and London Plan policies”. The committee also concluded that the scheme would provide “an increase and significant enhancement” of the public realm.

But the application had been opposed by Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that looks after the Tower of London, as damaging the World Heritage Site around the capital’s ancient citadel. Its complaint was echoed by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

However, the City of London Corporation’s committee said it found that the development would not harm the significance of the Tower of London World Heritage Site, as set out in the 2016 Tower of London World Heritage Site Management Plan (2016).

The corporation also said the building would be the first in London to incorporate “urban greening” - designed to mitigate air and noise pollution, combat the heat island effect, improve biodiversity, and help rainwater run-off management - at such a large scale.

According to the corporation, bespoke metal planters will provide support for climbing plants on the south, north and east elevations to create an expansive green façade.

The committee's report is available here

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