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Reid's Three Quays set to be unlocked - image

One of the most contentious schemes in the City of London is set to clear a major hurdle on Tuesday.

Reid Architecture's Three Quays project - for a site on the Thames near the Tower of London - looks likely to win conservation area consent for the demolition of an existing building at a meeting of the city's planning committee.

The scheme has spent more than two years stuck in the planning process, with the demolition facing wholesale opposition from conservationists.

Historic Royal Palaces has been the most vocal critic of the scheme, arguing that the existing building, by Brian O'Rourke, shows deference to the neighbouring Tower of London.

This 1959 building, which won a Civic Trust Award upon completion, is praised by Pevsner for its response to its context as a 'pleasant, quietly sophisticated Portland-faced building'.

But in its recommendation to the committee, the city planning department argues that the existing building should be allowed to go.

'It is now somewhat overwhelmed in scale and the building is not of such significance that is could not be replaced by another, providing a similar role in defining the setting of the Tower,' the planning report says.

by Ed Dorrell

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