The Corporation of London has committed itself to a tough fight with English Heritage over the forthcoming public inquiry on the Heron Tower, now scheduled for November.
Speaking at a public meeting convened to hear architects' views on the GLA's London Plan, Corporation planning officer Peter Wynne Rees said that the current skyline behind St Paul's was in need of further towers and that he would fight 'robustly' any efforts to prevent tall buildings being constructed.
'I can't see the addition of a number of new buildings into that cluster, including the Heron Tower and Foster's Baltic Exchange replacement, as detrimental. I think they'll help reinforce it, ' said Wynne Rees. 'There's already a considerable amount of constraint and protection in the City of London and nobody is suggesting it shouldn't be there. But we have to concentrate rather than continue the outward migration.'
He also stressed that St Paul's Cathedral was originally a symbol of power and economic strength, and that the City's skyline should continue to reflect these priorities. He added that Paris would never become a 'world class city in financial terms' because planners were hamstrung by nineteenth century boulevards and buildings, which precluded the introduction of tall buildings.
Judith Mayhew, chairman of the Corporation's policy and resources committee, added that she would take a tough stance against English Heritage and the Tower of London if they resisted moves to construct towers in the east of the City.
'There's always a compromise, but that eastern quadrant is where we need to build, ' she said.
Mayhew also hinted that Heathrow's longdelayed Rogers-designed Terminal 5 project is to receive planning consent. 'I believe there's going to be some good news regarding Terminal 5.'
The public inquiry into Kohn Pederson Fox's Heron Tower has been delayed from 23 October and is now scheduled to begin during November.