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LDS' Southwark tower scheme rejected at inquiry

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ 17-storey student tower project in Southwark, south London, has been vetoed following a public inquiry

The planning inspector rejected developer Helical Bar’s appeal against the local authority’s refusal, claiming the tower would cause ‘substantial harm’ to the Grade II*-listed St George the Martyr church nearby.

This time last year Southwark Council refused planning permission to build the 237-apartment structure. Councillors at the time described it as ‘slab-like, monolithic and overbearing’.

John Papworth, the planning inspector, said: ‘[The] harm to the setting of the listed [Grade II*] church and the character and appearance of the immediate area caused by the taller block is real and serious and such a building here is not supported by policies designed to inform decisions on the location of tall buildings.

‘Whether or not the church was designed to be seen as it presently is, the setting does now extend right around the building and the nave and its roof are important parts of its significance.

‘The higher part of the appeal building would cause substantial harm to the setting of the highly graded listed church.’

The project is the second south London high-rise scheme to be rejected at public inquiry this month. Last week Make’s 42-storey Bondway tower was vetoed by communities secretary Eric Pickles.


Previous story (12.01.11)

Public inquiry kicks off over controversial LDS project in Southwark

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ proposal for a 17-storey development in Southwark, south London, has gone to public inquiry after planning permission was rejected last year

Developer Helical Bar is seeking to overturn Southwark Council’s decision to reject planning permission for the 237-apartment student accommodation building proposal.

The proposal was described as ‘slab-like, monolithic and overbearing’ by a Southwark councillor when the scheme was rejected in February last year, according to local news service London Se1.

The planning committee originally presented ten reasons for its refusal, including the alleged presence of Roman ruins on the site in Dover Street, the obstruction it would cause to views of St. George the Martyr church and Southwark council’s objection to high-rise buildings.

Opening the inquiry, a representative for developers Helical Bar told Southwark Town Hall that his client ‘proposes the replacement of a non-descript, economically exhausted office building of no architectural merit whatever’.

He added that the development will be ‘of outstanding quality’ and put the church of St. George the Martyr ‘central to the design considerations’. He concluded that the site would benefit from a high-rise building as it is ‘located at a point of landmark significance and would contribute positively to the London skyline’.

In response, Southwark Council’s representative claimed the development ‘will have an adverse impact on the setting of the grade II star listed St George the Martyr church and the setting of and views from the Trinity Church Square and Borough High Street conservation areas.’

The inquiry, which will take into consideration the letters of 71 residents, is expected to last for more than a week.

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