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English Heritage and Westminster Council to challenge Doon Street approval

English Heritage (EH) and Westminster City Council have today (29 September) announced that they will be mounting a legal challenge against Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ Doon Street tower.

The 43-storey skyscraper near London’s South Bank was given the green light by communities secretary Hazel Blears in August following a high-profile public inquiry.

Blears’ decision ‘appalled’ both EH and Westminster, who claimed the tower would cause ‘irreparable harm’ to the setting of Somerset House on the opposite side of the Thames.

The communities secretary’s verdict even acknowledged that the building would have an ‘impact’ on Somerset House.

EH chief executive Simon Thurley said: ‘The Secretary of State is of course entitled to disagree with her inspector’s advice, but she must take into account all relevant factors, and it is highly relevant that the harm to London’s historic environment could be avoided.

‘We urge the Secretary of State to respond positively to this challenge and to look again at the ways in which this scheme can be delivered which avoids harm to one of London’s greatest assets – its heritage.’

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