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Manson warns government off Renzo Piano tower inquiry

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Southwark council's regeneration chief has told the AJ that the government would look 'stupid' if it called for a public inquiry into Renzo Piano's proposal for a 300m tower at London Bridge station.

Head of regeneration Fred Manson said both the council and the Greater London Authority would make their decision-making so 'diligent and transparent' that there would be no further case to answer. 'If the two of us do it well there would be no reason for the secretary of state to intervene, ' he said. 'Everybody agrees that the inquiry into Terminal Five is no way to carry on and the government would look pretty stupid if it said 'we want to speed up the planning process but we're going to slow it down right now'. If the government wished to expedite things quickly, they could; and I've certainly let them know they can do that.'

Manson, who has announced he will be leaving the authority in October, hopes that a recommendation will be put before the planning committee in November. By then, he said, all the issues should have been thrashed out so comprehensively with parties such as Transport for London, CABE and English Heritage that there would be nothing to gain from a public inquiry.

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