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Planning system 'scuppers' 27-storey tower in Chiswick

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Plans for a 27-storey skyscraper in Chiswick have been scrapped because the developer feared that London's planning process for tall buildings would take too long and cost too much.

The go-ahead for the Pinnacle, a £75 million office block designed by Livesey O'Malley, had already been granted by Hounslow council, but the Government Office for London called in the scheme for a public inquiry earlier this year.A shorter, less contentious building will now be drawn up by the same architect for developer London and Bath Estates.

'The scheme has fallen foul of the lack of an overall strategy for tall buildings in the capital, ' said Livesey O'Malley partner Simon Marett.

'The developer didn't want to fight and perhaps couldn't afford it. It's very sad for the regeneration of that area.'

The public inquiry was expected to take at least a year and the scheme had already been shortened from 31 storeys following criticism from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

The move came as Greater London Authority planning officials, English Heritage and the CABE met to start talks on a policy for high-rise developments in the capital. Sources close to the discussions say that the policy is likely to focus on encouraging tall buildings around public transport nodes and making sure that public access is available at the ground floor level of tall buildings. The policy will be directed at developers and will act as a preplanning checklist.

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