The government has this morning granted planning permission for two separate, major tower developments in London’s Blackfriars being planned by Stephen Beetham and Israeli investor Gil Levy.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, ruled that the Beetham Organisation’s plans for a £1bn mixed use scheme including towers up to 52-storeys high at 1 Blackfriars Road was in an appropriate location.
Hugh Frost, chairman of Beetham Organization, said: 'This is a much needed boost to London. The development is a vital part of the regeneration of the South bank of the Thames, creating an iconic landmark and tourist destination, as well as providing jobs and a total transformation for the area.'
The Secretary of State also ruled Gil Levy’s offices and residential development including towers up to 42-storeys high at 20 Blackfriars Road would not have a damaging impact on historic views in the capital.
A planning inquiry into the towers started in September last year. English Heritage objected to both schemes saying they would contribute to a ‘harmful erosion on London’s heritage assets’.
The 14-page report, released this morning, said: ‘She (the Secretary of State) considers that each proposal is of appropriate scale and geometry not to overpower the existing built form or detract from night time views, and that the scale or appearance of the proposals, individually or cumulatively, would not dominate or overpower the setting of the view from St James Park.’
The Secretary of State also said that the developments meet the government’s national and development plan policies and that there are ‘no material considerations of sufficient weight’ which would justify refusing permission for the scheme.
Beetham is planning an 820,000 sq ft mixed use scheme comprising hotel and 96 apartments.
Levy is planning a 900,000 sq ft scheme including 286 apartments and 280,000 sq ft of offices.