The decision follows a spate of similar demands for full public enquiries into approved skyscraper schemes, including towers by both Wilkinson Eyre and Ian Simpson in Blackfriars, London (AJ online 13.03.08).
Backed by Sackville Developments, the mixed-use, 130,000m2 scheme around the town’s station has had an intriguing passage through planning.
Despite being critised by CABE on four separate occasions, the project was unanimously approved by the city council back in March.
But now Blears wants to have another look at the scheme – in particular at how it fits in with the local development plan, and at whether the design is ‘appropriate for the context’ and improves ‘the character and quality of the area’.
The move comes as a bitter blow to the practices involved. Darren Comber, director at Scott Brownrigg, said: ‘We have been working closely with Reading on the design of this important scheme for the past 24 months. [It] was presented at two public exhibitions which resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback, with only nine objections being received from the whole of Reading.
‘In the context of this support, it is exceptionally disappointing'.