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Khan warns London councils over protected views

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A row over a ‘destroyed’ view of St Paul’s from Richmond has prompted London mayor Sadiq Khan to write to planning authorities, urging them to take ‘additional care’ 

In a letter of response to Friends of Richmond Park, Khan added that greater care should be taken ‘whether schemes fall within the wider setting consultation areas or not’.

He also revealed that he has asked his planning officers to produce a map showing extensions to the protected viewing corridors, which will be shared with London planning authorities to help them identify schemes that may impact on such safeguarded views.

As the AJ reported in November, the west London-based conservation charity had written to the mayor to express its outrage that the protected view from the Richmond Park’s King Henry’s Mound to St Paul’s – a view that has existed for 300 years – had been severely damaged by SOM’s 42-storey Manhattan Loft Gardens building, a scheme under construction well beyond St Paul’s in Stratford.

In his letter, Khan confirmed he will revise the London View Management Framework (LVMF) in his upcoming London Plan. However, communities secretary Sajid Javid is heavily involved in any changes to the LVMF, and Khan has therefore requested that these powers should be devolved to him.

Khan also highlighted the planning officer’s report dated 11 June 2010, recommending Manhattan Loft Gardens for approval, which stated that Historic England (then called English Heritage) was consulted, but that no response was received.

However, Historic England maintains that it was not consulted, despite this report. Although the heritage body does not appear under the list of consultees in the planning portal for Manhattan Loft Gardens, the AJ understands that this list only includes those consultees which responded. 

Khan added that there was no planning requirement for the Olympic Delivery Authority, which granted Manhattan Loft Gardens planning permission, to consult with St Paul’s, English Heritage, the Royal Parks or Friends of Richmond Park – and that he had no power to reduce the building in height or demolish it.

Ron Crompton, chair of Friends of Richmond Park, said: ‘We welcome the mayor’s commitment to revising the LVMF and his action in writing to planning authorities.

‘We urge him to make public all the developments that might affect the view, at whatever stage of the planning process they have reached.’

Last month at Mayor’s Question Time, Khan said ‘consideration is to be given to including more distant boroughs’ to prevent development from disrupting protected views again.

He said that, although the protected view of St Paul’s was given planning status in 1991, ‘no one ever anticipated a building so far away from Richmond – and more than 7km behind the dome of St Paul’s – might be visible in that way’.

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