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London set for skyscraper boom

London’s skyline is set for an ‘extraordinary’ transformation with news that 236 tall buildings are in various stages of planning or construction across the capital

A new survey has revealed that the towers, which are all above 20 storeys, are either proposed, approved or under construction in London.

The survey for NLA’s forthcoming London’s Growing Up exhibition found that 33 of the towers are between 40 and 49 storeys and 22 have 50 or more. Around half [48 per cent] of the 236 have been approved and 19 per cent are already under construction.

Eighteen are earmarked for office developments, eight are hotels, 13 are mixed-use and one, Imperial West Tower by PLP Architecture in Hammersmith and Fulham, is described as ‘an educational institute’. However, the need for new homes is the main driver, with 189 towers, or 80 per cent of the new towers being residential.

Brian Waters, principal of architects and planning consultants BWCP and chairman of the London Planning & Development Forum described the findings as ‘extraordinary’ and welcomed the planned boom in high rise living: ‘On one level this is terrific news,’ said Waters.

‘We need to densify London and [the towers are] stacked full of flats and that has to bring the cost down,’ he added.

While Waters welcomed the high-rise growth spurt, the planner warned that there could be problems: ‘There is a lack of coherence about the form of the city. You hear mutterings about the need for clusters, but show me a cluster here,’ he said.

‘There is a lack of a planned vision. The only thing we have is the incredibly complex protected views around St Paul’s. A policy that is like saying ‘I will only look at the vacuums, not the solids’; telling us where not to do towers,’ added Waters.

The glut of new tall buildings will be concentrated in the central and east London with Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Greenwich, Newham and Southwark having 140 of the planned 236.

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