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Shaping up

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Will the public inquiry into the Renzo Piano London Bridge Tower be a re-run of the Heron inquiry, with English Heritage and CABE slugging it out over the merits of height? Not exactly, since CABE's stated position on the tower is that the wider environs have not been sufficiently considered to enable it to support the proposal. On the other hand, it has no objection to the height or bulk of the tower, and rejects arguments that the visual impact of the development will cause harm either to the skyline panorama as a whole, or the Tower of London.The whole process is rather topsy-turvy, since the big debate about height and views is only just starting in relation to the draft London Plan. Two other nuggets to contemplate in relation to the Piano scheme. First, much work is in hand in relation to the improvement of St Thomas Street and pedestrian routes including Guy's Hospital, as a result of an initiative by Southwark council and the GLA, which could prove helpful to developer Irvine Sellar's case at inquiry. Second, I note from my Pevsner that the TP Bennett building which would be replaced is described as 'more distinguished' than the adjacent tower by Col Seifert. Surely some mistake.

Perhaps they will both end up being demolished.

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