BPS is neutral on towers. If they don’t involve the loss of a heritage or character building and are architecturally peerless (ie. not Strata), BPS is not against them. It’s a case by case issue for BPS. However, there have been several recent articles that we’ve found interesting/cautionary.
"But Mr Rees says his personal view is that some skyscrapers are being built in unsuitable locations. "From Bermondsey to Battersea, you are confronted by isolated tall buildings and I believe this damages the city," he says.
"If you are building tall, you should cluster buildings together," he adds "It’s no good building over each Underground station across London."
"I think we will end up with a very ugly looking place with random tall buildings."
Current Southwark planning policy states that towers are only appropriate at the North end of Blackfriars Road, clustered around the bridge. Already coming are South Bank Tower (128.4m), 1 Blackfriars (170m, plus a 6 storey and 5 storey building), 240 Blackfriars (80m) and 245 Blackfriars Road (aka Ludgate and Sampson, 9 buildings, tallest 42 storeys). Currently called in for review is 20 Blackfriars Road (141m and another of 23 storeys). Now, Southwark Council are proposing in the upcoming Blackfriars SPD, supposedly a guideline document, that Southwark Tube Station and St George’s Circus are suitable sites for 70m towers. The Southwark tube site was recently acquired and St George’s Circus site is being developed by Barratt Homes. Southwark Council views the towers as important in creating a corridor, linking Elephant and Castle, along London Road and Blackfriars Road, to the river - and no doubt in their mind to the money of the City of London.
The local community, however, is by no means convinced of the benefits of tall buildings. BPS was recently told the heartbreaking example of a resident in sheltered accommodation behind the Palestra. Visited by a councillor, the pensioner who answered was wrapped in a blanket. She said that her home was now cast into permanent shadow. She could no longer get warm and was “waiting to die”.