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Eric Parry gets go-ahead for contentious City of London tower

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The City of London has ignored an objection from Historic Royal Palaces and unanimously approved a 36-storey tower in the Square Mile by Eric Parry Architects 

The organisation which manages the Tower of London had warned the proposed skyscraper at 50 Fenchurch Street would impact on both the setting and protected views of the historic Thamesside landmark.

Historic Royal Palaces said the ‘highly intrusive’ plans to replace the Clothworkers Company existing even-storey office block would impact on the Tower’s World Heritage Site, claiming the planned office block would sit outside the City’s so-called Eastern Cluster of skyscrapers.

Meanwhile Generali, which runs the rooftop garden at the neighbouring 120 Fenchurch Street also designed by Eric Parry, had also opposed the plans saying the skyscraper would reduce ’daylight and sunlight and a loss of view’ which would ’diminish its amenity’. 

However the City’s planners argued the 150m-tall proposal did not breach the Tower of London’s ’skyline or erode the visual separation between the upper parts of the White Tower and the emerging cluster of tall buildings in the background’. 

The officers acknowledged that the proposal would ’diminish views to the south from the public roof garden of 120 Fenchurch Street’ and would ‘significantly’ reduce sunlight to this rooftop area. However they said that the planned ’promenaded walk, winter garden and generous free-to-visit public space’ proposed at 50 Fenchurch would ’compensate for the diminishment in the viewing experience and qualities of the roof garden at 120 Fenchurch Street such that the wider public benefit is not harmed’.

The City’s planning and transportation committee, which was holding its first ever virtual meeting yesterday (14 May), agreed and waved the scheme through.

Backed by 500-year-old The Clothworkers’ Company, the proposal contains plans for a new underground livery hall, as well as ground-floor shops and 62,000m² of office space.

50 fenchurch street eric parry next to 120 fenchurch street right

50 fenchurch street eric parry next to 120 fenchurch street right

View of 50 Fenchurch Street (left) next to 120 Fenchurch Street (right)

The scheme would also see ‘improvements’ to the Grade I-listed Tower of All Hallows Staining and its Grade II-listed companion, the Lambe’s Chapel Crypt.

The tower would include ’extensive vertical landscaping’ stretching over more than 20 storeys, together with glazing around the rest of the tower and a ceramic façade at the base.

In total, the new development would have 3,000m² of new publicly accessible space, including around 1,500m² of public realm at ground level.

The site sits a stone’s throw from Rafael Viñoly’s Walkie Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street and around the corner from Parry’s not-yet-built 1 Undershaft.

Eric Parry, founder and principal of Eric Parry Architects said: ’The commission to redevelop a site of this scale and significance is special in any city but in the historic heart of the City of London it presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

’The design journey of this urban proposition has been one of the most remarkable alignments between commerce, culture and the public realm that I have experienced. The proposal will unite more than 800 years of the City of London’s history with its future in a development that will dramatically improve the experience of the city for all.’

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