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Livingstone warns Lambeth: 'Block tower and face the costs'

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A war of words has broken out between London mayor Ken Livingstone and Lambeth council over Broadway Malyan's proposed Vauxhall Tower.

Livingstone has issued a stark warning to the council that it faces a multimillion-pound public inquiry if it refuses planning permission for the 50-storey residential tower.

The mayor, in a public speech last Thursday, threatened: 'If people decide to block progress in this city, then we will fight them, and if they lose, they will bear the full cost and we will extract every penny of the cost from that sort of gesture politics.'

However, the borough has hit back, telling Livingstone to 'keep your tanks off our lawn'.

Lambeth's executive member for regeneration and planning, Andrew Sawdon, called the remarks 'threatening' and 'inappropriate'. 'It would be completely wrong for the planning committee to take into consideration financial threats when it makes its decision, ' he said.

'Councillors will consider the scheme, as they are required to do, in accordance with planning law alone.'

The 180m-tall tower, planned for St George Wharf on the south bank of the Thames, ran into trouble last December when CABE criticised its use of materials and its treatment at ground floor level. Broadway Malyan has now reworked the design for the third time and developer St George will be submitting a new planning application for the project this week.

Livingstone was won over to the scheme after the provision of affordable housing was increased from 25 per cent to 40 per cent.

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