UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural agency, is threatening to put a number of London’s historical landmarks on its endangered list because of the impact of proposed tall buildings on them.
Stephen Beetham’s 50-storey Beetham Tower and Coin Street Community Builders’ 47-storey Doon Street tower have been identified as having a negative impact on buildings such as Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster.
The Shard, to be developed at London Bridge, was also identified as having an impact of the views of the Tower of London.
In UNESCO's final report to local councils it said it was disappointed that its proposal for a buffer zone to protect Westminster’s historical buildings had not been implemented.
‘We support the UN's stance on this,’ said councillor Robert Davis, Westminster’s deputy leader and cabinet member for planning.
‘We issued a detailed response last year to Unesco on the threat to our world heritage site Westminster Abbey, noting that despite the very real danger tall buildings pose to our historic skyline a raft of skyscrapers had recently been given the go ahead by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, and then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, in the face of public objection.'
Other areas at risk include Edinburgh’s Old and New Town, where the city council agreed to the demolition of listed buildings as a part of Mountgrange’s Caltongate scheme, and Bath, where Unesco’s inspectors are concerned about the impact of new residential blocks on the city’s Georgian heritage.