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Last hurdle leaped for Vauxhall tower

The very last hurdle for Broadway Malyan's controversial Vauxhall Tower was cleared yesterday.

There are now no barriers to the scheme after the ODPM gave it the official seal of approval and it can start on site whenever the developer feels ready.

After altering the amount of affordable housing in its Vauxhall Tower project in Vauxhall Cross, Lambeth, developer St George has won John Prescott's approval.

The government office 'minded to approve' the scheme in March, provided that St George included a greater number of affordable houses in the 50-storey edifice. This decision overruled the recommendations of a planning inspector.

The ruling attracted criticism in the Commons late last month from former Conservative environment secretary Kenneth Baker, who took issue with the decision to approve an isolated building as opposed to one that was part of a planned cluster (AJ 29.06.05).

The ODPM's stance ignores the planning inspector's concerns that the development would negate an important view of the Palace of Westminster.

Tony Carey, managing director of St George, said: 'In reaching this decision, Vauxhall Tower is clearly recognised to be of 'first class' design, highly energy efficient at an appropriate location, backed by CABE and the GLA.

'The slender design will help transform perceptions of the Vauxhall area and act as a catalyst for further regeneration. It will also deliver 40 per cent affordable housing with a substantially improved package of affordable family accommodation agreed with Lambeth council,' he added.

by Rob Sharp

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