DC Casebook: Mixed use development - Tower design and setting impact passed

A 23-storey tower has been allowed on London's Albert Embankment despite local authority concerns over its impact on a world heritage site and important listed buildings.

The proposed building consisted of a base surmounted by a tower and pinnacle. Commercial space would be provided at ground and first-floor level, followed by three levels of affordable housing and 101 apartments and flats on the higher floors. The council claimed that its height would adversely affect the setting of the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey. It also alleged that amenity space was deficient and failed to offer convenient access to communal facilities.

The inspector examined the potential impact by day and night. He noted CABE's comments that a tall residential building on the embankment was acceptable in principle and agreed that its sculptural form had been handled successfully. Its impact on the world heritage site and nearby listed buildings was acceptable, he decided.

The council's standards indicated that 1,060m2 of amenity space should be provided and the scheme fell well short of this. Much of the space would be in balconies linked to individual flats. Given the site's location in an area with good levels of public space, the inspector decided that a less dense scheme would be contrary to the need to make best use of previously developed land. The developers were prepared to make a financial contribution to off-site provision, he noted.

DCS Number 100-064-386

Inspector Ken Barton; Inquiry

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