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. . . as mayor Livingstone urges developers to reach for skies

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The development of tall buildings in the City of London received a major boost last week after it emerged that London mayor Ken Livingstone has met privately with developers in a move to encourage them to build higher.

Livingstone met developer Gerald Ronson earlier this month to view his planning application for 110 Bishopsgate, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, and told the Heron boss that he should add extra floors to the 37-storey tower.

'Ken is in favour of tall buildings and thinks they give a good impression for the city as a world financial centre, ' said a spokesman. 'He said: 'Why don't you think about going higher.' It was a casual remark and isn't close to a policy.'

But the building was the first Livingstone has seen in detail since his powers came into effect at the beginning of the month and his comments represent a major breakthrough for developers. The proposals also received a smooth r ide at this month's CABE design review committee meeting .

Livingstone's support for greater height in the City comes as a series of planning applications on tall buildings are considered by planners in both the City and Westminster. The Corporation of London's Court of Common Council was also today due to back the 41storey Swiss Re tower by Foster and Partners. Any building above 75m in the City must go past the mayor after planning approval by the corporation.

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