Contested City of London office had been slated for approval

A decision on a controversial 48-storey office tower planned for a site beside the Gherkin has been postponed until later this year.

The City of London was expected to give the Stiff & Trevillion-designed tower the green light today but its planning committee has deferred the application until a site visit by planning committee members later in the year.

It is expected to come back to the committee by the end of September at the latest.

The skinny 197m tower could also be neighboured by the Tulip, designed by Foster & Partners, if an appeal for that 305m tower succeeds. A decision on this is expected in the summer.

Stiff & Trevillion’s scheme would replace Bury House, a seven-storey 1970s stone and glass office building at 31 Bury Street.

The proposal is for a stepped building containing 25,460sq m of offices above a ground level of retail and a community space, plus a semi-public arcade through the building and some landscaped open space. The applicant said smaller floorplates were an unmet demand in this part of the Square Mile.

The site is a few metres from the grade I-listed 1701 Bevis Marks Synagogue, the UK’s oldest Jewish place of worship, whose members – and the Chief Rabbi – have complained about the loss of light the project would cause.

Historic England also objected, arguing it would affect neighbouring buildings detrimentally and cause harm to the setting of the Tower of London world heritage site. It called for a significant reduction in the building’s height.

The City’s planning officers argued in their report to the committee that the quality of the design and materials would mitigate any harm.

The client is Bentall Green Oak and Thornton Tomasetti is structural engineer, with Arup on facades. Mace is construction consultant, RLB is QS with Hoare Lee, Sweco and Bowles Wyer also on the project team.