A controversial new London skyscraper dubbed “the Tulip” has been given planning approval, paving the way for the construction of the second tallest building in Western Europe after the Shard.
Designed by Foster + Partners, the 305-metre tower in the City of London will feature a viewing platform with rotating pods, a restaurant and a sky bar, and is expected to attract 1.2 million visitors a year.
Plans for the building were approved by the City of London Corporation on Tuesday, with committee members voting 18-7 in favour of the tower on Bury Street in the Square Mile.
Chris Hayward, chairman of the planning committee, said: “After a lengthy and robust debate, the committee agreed to approve this truly unique visitor attraction.
“One of my key objectives … has been to enable the continued transformation of the City of London into a place which welcomes members of the public on weekends as during the week.”
Designs for the Tulip also include cycle parking and shower facilities, a park at street level and a publicly accessible rooftop terrace. One floor would be used as education facilities during school hours, accessible to local community groups and charities, the Corporation said.
However, Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said the Tower would damage London’s historic views.
He said: “This building, a lift shaft with a bulge on top, would damage the very thing its developers claim they will deliver – tourism and views of London’s extraordinary heritage.
“The setting of the Tower of London, a symbol of the city not just to millions of Londoners but to the whole world and one of our most visited places, will be harmed. It has already been damaged by the Walkie Talkie and it would be a great shame if that mistake was repeated.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010