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'Views will be ruined, ' warns GLA at mayor's high-rise plans

The Greater London Assembly has had a dust-up with its mayor Ken Livingstone over tall buildings and his leadership style, within a week of a new report supporting skyscrapers in the capital.

GLA members warned views of St Paul's Cathedral from Greenwich could be ruined if Livingstone had his way on tall buildings. The assembly said he was 'set to give the green light' to the principle of building high-rise blocks on Greenwich riverside.

Tony Arbour, chairman of the planning committee, said: 'The committee and assembly are sceptical about the mayor's tall-buildings policy and we back Greenwich.' The borough wants all new schemes in front of Greenwich Park and Blackheath Point to be lower than 30m.

But Livingstone, responding to Greenwich's draft UDP, said the view had changed enormously over the centuries and continued to change. 'We don't want to fossilise the view as there is much room for improvement. We want to manage the view so that St Paul's remains visible, but also to ensure the panorama on each side contains some beautiful buildings to look at.'

Livingstone is currently reviewing his strategicviews policy in his London Plan. But a report by GLA members published on Monday accused the mayor of paying lip service to Londoners' views.

Livingstone said he had 'total contempt for consultation' to a committee in February, and that seeking views was not a top priority.

Sally Hamwee, chairwoman of the assembly and the committee that wrote the report, Is the Mayor Listening? , said the mayor's views did not seem to tally with his early commitments and that he may lose the goodwill of Londoners.

Meanwhile, the Corporation of London's 'Tall Buildings and Sustainability' report, published last week, claimed advances in technology and sensitive design could make towers more sustainable than low-rise buildings.

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