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Skyline campaign set to be debated at City Hall

The London Assembly’s planning committee has agreed to debate the concerns over high-rise building raised in the AJ/Observer Skyline campaign

After lobbying from the AJ, the influential committee has agreed to hold a special session this year in which up to seven expert witnesses, including a representative from the campaign, will be called to discuss the future of London’s Skyline.

The five-strong committee, chaired by Labour London Assembly member Nicky Gavron, scrutinises decisions by London Mayor Boris Johnson that could affect the London Plan – the strategic planning document for the capital. A committee spokesman said: ‘Both the chair and the deputy chair [Conservative London Assembly member Steve O’Connell] agreed to hold the meeting, probably after August, but we may pencil in a session in June or July’. 

The members of the panel which also include Kit Malthouse (Conservative), Navin Shah (Labour) and Onkar Sahota (Labour) declined to discuss the Skyline campaign on the grounds that they were entering a pre-local election period which precludes them from commenting on political issues, but Andrew Boff, a Conservative member of the 25-strong London Assembly, said: ‘This is a good campaign. There should be severe and absolute lines drawn setting out where developers can and cannot build high-rises. It is much better for developers to know where they can build, rather than waste gazillions playing the system’. Boff singled out Canary Wharf, Nine Elms, The City and Croydon as acceptable areas to build tall.

With up to just 10 sittings a year, the planning committee’s decision to allocate a session is an important step for the Skyline campaign, which is gaining significant support. High-profile names including David Chipperfield, London MPs Tessa Jowell and David Lammy and TV presenter Kevin McCloud have signed up. Recent new signatories include possible London Mayoral candidate Doreen Lawrence, Clare Wright, Peter Clegg, Keith Bradley, the Independent’s Jay Merrick and shadow culture secretary Helen Goodman.

The AJ/Observer Skyline Campaign

The campaign aims to ensure the capital’s future skyscrapers are built in the right place and designed to the highest quality.

It has been backed by architects including David Chipperfield, David Adjaye, Eva Jiricna and Ted Cullinan.

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