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Ken Livingstone's solar surprise

Backers of this solar power station - by Alan Conisbee Associates and Yellow Architecture - have demanded that London mayor Ken Livingstone reassesses his surprising decision to refuse it planning permission.

The scheme's supporters want Livingstone to take another look at the project in east London, insisting that it fulfils all the mayor's major policy objectives.

The £1.4 million designs propose a series of photovoltaic units astride an electric gokarting track, for which it will provide power.Any excess would be sold on to the National Grid.

Livingstone has refused to give the project his blessing because the site proposed is Metropolitan Open Land, which he is committed to saving.

However, Alan Conisbee's Robert Webb dismissed this argument, pointing out that the land is not parkland and is not grassed over.

'We admit that the scheme is on Metropolitan Open Land, but it is currently a tarmac site, ' Webb told the AJ.

'Ken is not saving any green space and he is refusing permission for a project that will add hugely to the public realm'.

But the mayor's planning office, headed up by Giles Dolphin, insisted that Livingstone's hands were tied. 'While the mayor was extremely supportive of the concept and design of the renewable energy power station, he has concluded he is minded to refuse, 'he said in a letter to the developers.

Dolphin added, however, that the mayor would have been impressed by the proposals had they been located elsewhere and offered his help in finding an alternative site.

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