London's mayor has advised planners to reject plans for a new 300-metre skyscraper dubbed “the Tulip”.
The move comes less than four months after city authorities gave a green light to the tower, which would have become the second-tallest skyscraper in western Europe upon opening in 2025.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said the proposal “would not constitute the high standard of design required”, and that it would “cause harm to the historic environment, the wider skyline and image of London”.
The Mayor of London's powers were significantly expanded in 2008 to include the authority to refuse planning permission to buildings deemed contrary to the London Plan — the city's spatial development strategy.
“The mayor has a number of serious concerns with this application and having studied it in detail has refused permission for a scheme that he believes would result in very limited public benefit,” a spokesman said on behalf of Khan.
“In particular, he believes that the design is of insufficient quality for such a prominent location, and that the tower would result in harm to London’s skyline and impact views of the nearby Tower of London world heritage site.
Plans were approved by the City of London Corporation, which governs the City of London in April. Its Planning and Transportation Committee voted 18-7 in favour of the project in April.
Nonetheless, Khan moved to intervene this week, exercising his power to refuse planning permission to any proposals in the city.
The group behind the proposal, the Tulip Project, has claimed that the attraction would welcome 1.2 million visitors a year, creating hundreds of jobs and injecting £970 million ($1.7 billion) into London's economy by 2045.
“The Tulip Project team are disappointed by the Mayor of London’s decision to direct refusal of planning permission, particularly as The Tulip will generate immediate and longer-term socio-economic benefits to London and the UK as a whole,” the group said in a statement.
The Foster + Partners-designed tower was to be built at 20 Bury Street alongside the Gherkin.
“We will now take time to consider potential next steps for The Tulip Project,” the group said.
The applicants now have the right to appeal directly to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government within six months if the CLC goes ahead and refuses planning permission.