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Serota set to appeal as Tate Tower is given green light

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Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota wants to appeal against the Tate Tower by Philip Gumuchdjian and Kevin Dash after an inspector overturned Southwark council's planning refusal.

'This is very bad news, ' said a spokeswoman for Serota. 'We are taking advice from our lawyers and talking to local residents.' The Tate chief is angry that the 20-storey tower will stand within 40m of Tate Modern's front entrance (AJ 8.5.03).

Serota said the planning inspector ignored expert advice that the 63m mixed-use block would cause 'long-lasting damage to the public realm at Bankside'.

However CABE, English Heritage and the Greater London Assembly welcomed the decision to back the scheme, despite Southwark's refusal last October and Serota being a CABE commissioner.

The planning inspector said architecture was 'universally seen as an art form' and that 'an outstanding design' would complement a modern art gallery.

The design will include 28 homes - nine of them 'genuinely affordable' - as well as a new community garden and park.

A two-storey warehouse stands on the proposed site in Hopton Street, which is next to the ramp at the western end of Tate Modern. Property group London Town bought the land for around £7.7 million in 2000.

The council and architects were unavailable for comment.

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