High Court backs Doon Street tower go-ahead
The High Court has upheld the government’s decision to approve Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’s controversial 43-storey Doon Street tower on London’s South Bank.
His Honour Judge Mole yesterday (Wednesday) rejected the legal challenge brought by English Heritage and Westminster City Council a year ago that the scheme, for Coin Street Community Builders, would ruin historic views across the capital.
In August 2008, communities secretary Hazel Blears had approved the scheme in a decision which went against planning inspector Philip Wilson’s advice, after concluding that the project’s “substantial” community benefits outweighed any drawbacks.
At the time Robert Davis, Westminster cabinet member for built environment, described the tower as an act of “architectural vandalism”.
Alex Lifschutz, director at Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands welcomed the judge’s decision.
“The Doon Street scheme will provide much-needed swimming, sports and dance programmes for the people who live and work on the South Bank, as well as transform a site that has been derelict for over 50 years,” he said.
Iain Tuckett, group director of Coin Street Community Builders echoed his comments but attacked English Heritage and Westminster for their determination to pursue the case.
“We regret the huge costs to the taxpayers and ratepayers – and to ourselves – caused by Westminster Council and English Heritage’s unnecessary legal action,” he said.
The scheme will create 329 new homes as well as a public swimming pool and leisure centre and was supported by local MP Kate Hoey, Lambeth Council as well as by Richard Rogers and Terry Farrell. Last year the RIBA named Coin Street Community Builders as its client of the year.