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City lights

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My colleague Paul Finch seemed to enjoy his speech at the City Corporation Planning and Transport committee dinner at Drapers Hall the other night.

Among other things, he suggested that, were planning applications for Tower Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral be made today, they would almost certainly be refused, on a variety of grounds including concentration of vehicular traffic, destruction of views from City Hall and the Tower Hotel; interference with the Tower of London World Heritage site, etc, etc. There was also an interesting snippet on Drapers Gardens, one of the first office towers in the City, designed by the late lamented Colonel Seifert. A few years ago this was recommended for Grade II listing, but turned down. Now Foggo Associates has won planning permission for a redevelopment, but the client is seeking a certificate of immunity from listing. The listing branch of English Heritage still supports a listing, but the London Division does not, apparently on the grounds that this tall building, being so close to St Paul's, would be better demolished.Who knows what will happen. Perhaps, as Finch suggested, a listing closely followed by a listed building consent.

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