Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Developer's Vision for South Bank Tower Site

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Developer's Vision for South Bank Tower Site

Article excerpt

Byline: MIRA BAR-HILLEL;ELIZABETH HOPKIRK

THIS is the latest vision for London's skyline.

Plans have been unveiled for three new towers near the London Eye which would dramatically alter the landscape of the South Bank and Waterloo.

Rising to about 460ft, the "Three Sisters" plan is the work of architects Allies and Morrison.

It is the second blueprint for a development to replace the hated Elizabeth House tower in York Road, which partly conceals Waterloo's victory arch entrance.

A previous plan for a 33-storey, sail-shaped building by architects RHWL was mired in controversy and later jettisoned.

In the past, the Three Sisters plan would have sparked a heated debate about its effect on the capital's skyline and river views.

But experts believe it is likely to get the go-ahead following revelations in the Standard yesterday that John Prescott has rejected another planning inquiry and approved the controversial Lots Road towers near Chelsea Harbour.

It is second time the Deputy Prime Minister has overruled planners in this way, having approved a residential skyscraper in Vauxhall last April.

The rulings set significant precedents, according to Peter Eversden, chairman of the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies.

He said: "Prescott's decision will make it more difficult and frustrating for local objectors to fight against unacceptable schemes."

London lacks central policies on building heights or the protection of its skyline and commentators are concerned that haphazard approvals will make the creation of such a framework impossible.

Architecture Foundation director Rowan Moore, who believes such a policy is vital, said: "If you put up 50 storeys in Vauxhall and 37 in Fulham, why not in Clapham or Hammersmith or Bexleyheath?"

Angela Hooper, chairman of planning at Westminster, which faces the Three Sisters site across the river, said: "We have clear policies restricting the height of buildings in Westminster and are always concerned by developments in neighbouring boroughs which obstruct views."

Elizabeth House was built in the Sixties by architect John Poulson to house government offices. …

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