Planning boost for new London tower as tall as the Shard

City of London officers have recommended councillors back a bid to build a 73-storey skyscraper as tall as the Shard in the capital’s financial district.

A report to councillors ahead of a meeting on Tuesday (2 July) urges them to grant consent for the 1 Undershaft proposals subject to conditions including referral to both the Mayor of London and secretary of state.

Backed by developer Stanhope, the application was submitted at the start of this year to amend a 2019 approval for a slightly shorter tower.

A decision will be made on the latest proposals at a meeting of the City of London Corporation’s planning sub-committee.

The latest scheme would provide more than 150,000 square metres of office space, enough for more than 9,000 workers.

A publicly accessible viewing gallery and education hub would be provided across the top two floors, while the ground level would include seating and wayfinding.

Cultural, retail and dining space would be created from storeys 10 to 12 while St Mary Axe, Undershaft and Leadenhall Street would be improved by the project.

Historic England objected to the proposals, saying they represented “a serious missed opportunity to achieve an exemplar building at the apex of the cluster, respecting the rich history of the City of London”.

Conservation body the Twentieth Century Society said it “strongly objects” to the demolition of the 1960s Aviva Tower to make way for the scheme.

Planning officers said the development would be “a sophisticated interplay of geometry and functionality, combining office, public and cultural spaces within a visually cohesive and engaging form”.

They added that the scheme would deliver “a high-quality, office-led development… which would meet growing business needs, supporting and strengthening opportunities for continued collaboration and clustering of businesses and maintaining the City’s position as the world-leading business centre”.

“Significant weight” within the planning balance should be placed on the need to support economic growth, said the officers.

They added: “As the proposal complies with the development plan when considered as a whole and, as other material considerations also weigh in favour of the scheme, planning permission should be granted [subject to conditions].”

A contractor has not yet been named on the scheme.

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