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Quartet urged to continue on Tower plan

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Designers of four schemes surrounding the World Heritage site of the Tower of London have failed to agree on a common strategy, and two of the four were the subject of serious criticism from the Royal Fine Art Commission.

Plans by Sir Norman Foster and Terry Farrell for the site by the Tower of London will get the go-ahead, but two others will be kept waiting, the rfac has predicted.

Secretary Francis Golding said Foster and Partners’ Tower Place office and retail scheme, which backs on to Terry Farrell & Partners’ design for a hotel and shops to the west of the tower, was now blending more harmoniously, following a reduction in the number of air ventilation louvres on Thames Street. ‘It looks like the schemes by Foster and Farrell are likely to get planning approval soonish.’

The fate of the two other schemes was more uncertain, he said. Manser Associates’ design for a 120m four-boat pier costing £4.5 million went in for an rfac presentation yesterday (20 May), and the team must wait several more weeks. This scheme is more advanced than the final one, Tower Approaches, being overseen by three consultants Sir William Whitfield, engineer Alan Baxter and design adviser Rory Coonan, said Golding. It aims to remove the traffic around the tower.

Golding said the main problem was getting the designers to talk with each other about their designs, to a masterplan by bdp. ‘The last time we met, three weeks ago, there was an amazing bun fight. The four schemes were here and we wanted a model made. They wanted separate presentations and Sir William Whitfield is back designing tower approaches in more detail.’

Foster and Partners has scooped another prime riverside site in London to design offices, shopping and leisure facilities. The 1.2ha development between London Bridge and Tower Bridge will be worth £1 billion. The architect was appointed by Capital and Income Trust, which will work with Stanhope.

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