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Flood fears prompt redesign call for RRP's Canary Wharf towers

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The Environment Agency has demanded that the Richard Rogers Partnership redesign parts of its mammoth Canary Wharf project, citing a failure to meet flood protection regulations.

Local authority planners at Tower Hamlets council are assessing the agency's objections before deciding on recommendations for the 28-storey and 34-storey Riverside South towers, the AJ understands.

The agency is objecting 'because of a poor flood risk assessment' by RRP, concerns over 'access to the existing flood defence walls' and fear the scheme will 'encroach too far over the riverbank'.

The current proposal involves the construction of two towers - with a combined space of 158,000m 2- sitting at the water's edge, with a low-rise connecting building providing 6,000m 2of retail space.

But Environment Agency development control officer Peter Holden said the agency is considering calling for the project to be 'moved a distance away from the riverfront'.

He said the quango - which has statutory powers to demand design changes - is also determined to force RRP and the developer to reassess the flood risk assessment and redesign the scheme to improve access to the river walls.

Council planner Simon Dunn-Lewis told the AJ that the planning department would await the Environment Agency's decision with interest before making its recommendation.

However, the scheme's developer, The Canary Wharf Group, said:

'Discussions to date with all parties have gone well and we are confident the project is progressing satisfactorily.'

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