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Livingstone bows to Green Party pressure over Bennetts' Islington scheme

The Green Party is putting increasing pressure on London Mayor Ken Livingstone about Bennetts Associates' controversial City Road Basin tower scheme in Islington.

Following demands from London Assembly Green Party member Jennie Jones, it is understood Livingstone has agreed to examine the scheme for two high-rise blocks on either side of the Regent's canal in Angel - a development which some locals have branded 'grotesque' and 'out of character'.

The project, which is part of a wider masterplan for the area developed by the London Borough of Islington together with Miller Developments, Fidelity Investments and British Waterways, will create one 29-storey mixed-use tower and another 39-storey block.

Both schemes have already secured conditional planning permission, the latest in March, and work was expected to start on the 29-storey tower towards the end of next year.

However, the potential impact of Livingstone's decision to step in is not yet known.

A spokeswoman for British Waterways admitted that the move could lead to the project being set back, but said the current situation was still hazy.

She said: 'We haven't been contacted by the mayor's office and this has already been through the planning process.

'It may delay the project depending on what the outcome is.'

Rab Bennetts, of Bennetts Associates, said: 'The Greater London Authority told use two years ago that this was one of the best schemes that they had seen, and that it was an exemplar of the type of thing Livingstone is advocating.

'The scheme also won the top award at this year's Waterways Renaissance Awards, for national schemes on the inland waterways.'

by Richard Waite

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