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High-rise construction in London shoots up 56%

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London has seen a surge in the number of tall buildings reaching the construction stage, according to new research

A study by New London Architecture (NLA) and consultancy GL Hearn shows that the number of towers under construction in the capital has shot up from 45 in 2014 to 70 this year - a rise of 56 per cent.

Their analysis of data from the London mayor’s office, local authorities and news reports found that 263 tall buildings over 20 storeys had been proposed, approved or were being built.

The 263 figure includes 76 proposed or in planning, 117 with planning approval but not yet on site and the 70 under construction.

The vast majority of the 72 towers submitted for planning approval over the past 12 months – some 89 per cent - are residential.

263 tall buildings over 20 storeys had been proposed

London’s deputy mayor for policy and planning Edward Lister said his office aimed to pinpoint further areas across the capital for ‘clusters’ of towers.

‘There is no doubt that sensibly managed and well-designed tall buildings which sit well within their surrounding have a key role to play in meeting the challenge of our rapidly increasing population’, he added.

‘This research shows that the vast majority of tall buildings are being built in carefully planned clusters’.

The deputy mayor’s support for further tower blocks comes after the London Assembly demanded “new and improved” policies to regulate tall buildings from his boss, Boris Johnson

In a major boost for the Skyline Campaign, the assembly’s cross-party planning committee issued the request in a letter to the London Mayor last week.

‘Tall buildings can make a positive contribution to city life and the skyline,” the letter from committee chair Nicky Gavron states. “But only if they’re in the right places, meet the right needs, and interact well with the character and identity of the immediate and surrounding area.’

According to the research, the towers that secured planning permission in the past 12 months included: Fielden House, the 25-storey tower designed by Renzo Piano for a site next to the Shard and 40 Leadenhall Street, the 36-storey office tower in the City of London by Make Architects, which has been dubbed ‘Gotham City’.

Peter Murray, chair of the NLA, and a member of the London Mayor’s design advisory group, said NLA supported the idea of ‘tall buildings in appropriate locations’.

‘They focus should be on quality of design on the skyline and at ground level’, he added.

The NLA would ‘continue to make the case’ for a 3D virtual model of London to be created.

“[This] would help in informing policy makers and the public of proposed changes to the shape of the city.”

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