Tuesday22 August 2017

Opponents hail decision to pull Renzo tower

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Developer agrees to revise plans for west London scheme

Campaigners are hailing the news that Renzo Piano’s plans for a 72 storey tower in Paddington have been pulled from planning.

They were due to be heard by Westminster council next month but opponents had accused the developer Sellar Property, which is working on the scheme with Great Western Development, a subsidiary of Singapore firm Hotel Properties, of trying to rush it through.

Developer Irvine Sellar said he had listened to the concerns about “the height and impact of the tower element of the scheme on the local area” and was now looking to revise the designs, which will still be drawn up by Piano.

Sellar said the decision had been taken “following high level discussions” between the leader and deputy leader of Westminster city council with a review now due to look at the building’s height.

The developer added that it “will bring forward an amended scheme that will still deliver all the substantial benefits including the significant investment in infrastructure and social housing”.

The 254m high scheme by Piano – who had previously said the only way to regenerate the area was to build a tall tower – had attracted fierce opposition with architects Terry Farrell and Ed Jones among hundreds who posted comments on the application. An online petition has attracted more than 1,800 signatures.

Duncan Wilson, the chief executive Historic England, which opposed the plans, said: “Tall buildings can be exciting and useful. But if they are poorly-designed, or in the wrong place, they can really harm our cities. We trust that the revised plans for Paddington Place will take the area’s unique character into account.”

And Skyline campaigner Barbara Weiss said: “The Skyline Campaign is delighted by the news of the withdrawal of the planning application for the 72-storey Paddington Pole. This follows weeks of intense campaigning that proved conclusively that this scale and type of insensitive, incongruous development is totally unwelcome, not only in the immediate local area, but across London as a whole. 

“The Skyline Campaign welcomes the fact that the developer and Westminster council intend to work closely with local residents and others. It will continue to monitor the new proposals.

“We hope that this new awareness will lead the way to a city-wide, comprehensive debate, and to a thorough re-examination of London’s overall strategy for tall buildings.”

Westminster council leader Philippa Roe, said: “We remain committed to ensuring that all the benefits of the original scheme are retained in the revised plans.”

The project, which featured a new Bakerloo tube station, offices, new public piazzas and 691 homes, was also attacked by the Victorian Society, the Royal Parks and local MP Karen Buck.



Readers' comments (10)

  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    Ah - the usual trick: pull the design nobody wants and then try to please them with an alternative design. Watch this space for more ugliness.

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  • Haha, SSMN the eternal optimist.

    I do agree though

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  • Dreading the flaccid alternative already!!!! Or perhaps, going along with the Chinese option : a giant gold (my life!) statue of the lovely Irvine Sellar. He was much better at selling velvet flared trousers in Carnaby Street in the sixties!!?? I woz 'zere!!!!

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  • Bit of a hollow victory unless this example becomes the catalyst an integrated urban strategy for the area around the station. As long as the WCC rely on piecemeal speculative development intitiatives to address the problems of Paddington Station and its context, then no satisfactory solution can come out of all this. The affair needs to be understood as a wake-up call rather than democracy in action.

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  • Seymour Alexander

    The comments above remind me of the superb ending of The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) with the two alternative versions of the Daily Express possible final edition pinned up, ready to print: PADDINGTON SAVED ,,, PADDINGTON DOOMED.

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  • Well that for the time being is good news, but as has been predicted above, what fugliness awaits?

    Speaking of which, the project to appropriate public space and huge amounts of public money by private developers (aka the Garden Bridge) has also been in the news because of dodgy procurement "issues"

    I would have thought these "issues" would have been published on these very pages?

    Hopefully London and Londoners will also be spared this egregious nonsense.

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  • Whatever happened to context-driven architecture....even in run-down Paddington...hmmm?

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  • Agree with all of the above...The Skyline Campaign awaits with trepidation! We are in it for the long haul! But what a huge waste of everybody's time. Why can't they get it right the first time? Or at least the second time? I propose we all indulge in a round of trying to guess what Sellar will be dishing up in the next round? A shorter Pole? Taller mid-rise? 30 basements?
    Any ideas? Forewarned is forearmed. The next battle is 285-329 Edgware Rd, another 38 storey monster...So faceless as to not even merit a monicker! We need to object to this too if we do not want it to become a precedent in the area.
    Barbara Weiss Skyline Campaign

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  • This technique of starting of outrageously with an over-the-top proposal and then making great play of 'listening to objectors/residents/etc.' and then responding with an apparently far more sensitive design is wearing extremely thin - it's happening again and again, all over the UK. It's the go-to approach no doubt recommended by the PR/lobbying companies employed by developers to help them win planning permission. An enormous number of these PR/lobbying companies are set up and/or staffed by individuals who have either served as local government politicians or who are still serving as local government politicians. They have the 'inside track' on how development control committees work and how planning offices approach proposals.

    This rot has got to stop.
    We're all seeing through it.
    Soon there won't be many places where local people haven't been through this sorry saga of countless iterations of whatever woeful design proposal etc. etc., everyone spending copious hours of their lives battling it out trying to preserve the environment in which they live.

    it's all extremely depressing.

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    There's one way to stop this: make sure, when you vote next May, that the next Mayor of London isn't a friend of the rich developers.

    Now have fun working out who that is.

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