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London mayor will not allow tulip skyscraper to bloom

Foster + Partners/PA Wire

By Alexander Britton, PA

Plans for a new London skyscraper dubbed the Tulip have been turned down by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The proposed development, on land at 20 Bury Street, would have become the second tallest building in Western Europe after the Shard and stood at 305.3 metres high.

The City of London Corporation rubber stamped an application from Brazil's J Safra Group and Foster + Partners for the development in April, but Mr Khan said the Tulip would not "constitute the high standard of design required for a tall building in this location".

"The proposal would compromise the ability to appreciate the outstanding universal value of the Tower of London... and would cause harm to the historic environment, the wider skyline and image of London, strategic views as well as the public space surrounding the site.

"The public benefits of the scheme are limited and would not outweigh this harm," Mr Khan said.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: "We welcome the news that The Tulip has been refused permission by the Mayor. We have long been of the opinion that this is the wrong building in the wrong place. We advised that its height and design - essentially a tall lift shaft with a bulge on top - would cause permanent and irreversible damage to the setting of the Tower of London, and in turn, the image and identity of the capital.

"We are particularly pleased that the Mayor recognised the building would result in harm to London's skyline and impact views of the nearby Tower of London World Heritage Site. This building did not justify harming London's precious and irreplaceable heritage."

The Corporation's Planning and Transportation Committee voted by 18-7 to approve the project, despite concerns that it could impede views of London.

J Safra also owns London's Gherkin, on land adjacent to the proposed Tulip site.