Giant Tulip tower will not be built after losing government planning appeal

The skyscraper would have been the second tallest tower in London, however Michael Gove reject its planning appeal saying the design was a “poor and unsympathetic response to the historical context”.

<p>The Tulip would become London’s second tallest building, and the tallest in the City. Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners </p>

The Tulip would become London’s second tallest building, and the tallest in the City. Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners

The giant 1,000 ft Tulip tower will not be built, after it lost its planning appeal with the Government.

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However the plans, by Foster + Partners, were rejected by the Government today.

They had already been rejected by the Mayor’s office, and the developers had appealed the decision with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

However secretary of state Michael Gove backed Sadiq Khan and rejected the proposals.

In a report, he said that the extent to which the Tulip’s “height and location would detract from the Tower of London would be significant”.

It said: “The Tulip would seriously detract from the outstanding universal value of the world heritage site, and the significance of the White Tower in particular.”

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Mr Gove also had concerns about the future use of the tower, after people had used it as a viewing platform.

The report explained: “The Secretary of State agrees with the inspector that little if any thought has been given to how the building would function over its extended lifetime.

“He notes that there are no plans for its re-use when it has served its purpose as a viewing tower, or for its demolition.

“He agrees that if the owner were disinclined with little incentive, it would leave either an unmaintained eyesore or a large public liability, and this counts heavily against its design quality.”

Mr Gove was also dismissive of the building’s design.

He said: “While there have obviously been considerable effort and architectural dexterity employed in modelling the top of the building, the way the gondolas, slide and skywalk have been incorporated into the viewing areas has produced a compromised design that is neither a flamboyant expression nor a consistent elegance.”

A computer generated image showing the view from the Tulip over the Thames and London. Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners

The cabinet minister added: “The form and materials of the Tulip at its proposed height and location would be a poor and unsympathetic response to the historical context.”

However he did say that the skyscraper would provide economic, tourism and education benefits.

The Safra private banking family had wanted to build the tower in the City, featuring a restaurant and public viewing platforms.

Foster & Partners were brought in to design the striking building, which nicknamed the Tulip for its curved viewing gallery.

The City of London Corporation granted planning permission in 2019 – but blocked by Sadiq Khan’s office, claiming it would damage the city’s skyline.

A computer-generated image from inside the Tulip. Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners

There were also concerns that there was no housing or office space in the skyscraper.

Today, a spokesperson said: “The Mayor is delighted that the Secretary of State has dismissed this appeal outright, agreeing that the Tulip Tower would be the wrong type of building for central London and that it would have a negative, long-term impact on London’s skyline.

“Sadiq has long argued that the proposed tower would be little more than a concrete lift shaft with a viewing gallery at the top, offering very little in terms of benefits for Londoners, with no new office space or housing.

“He is disappointed the case went to appeal in the first place, incurring unnecessary costs to the taxpayer.”

A spokesperson for Foster + Partners said: “We are obviously disappointed with the outcome of the planning appeal.

“As an unparalleled new attraction, The Tulip was envisaged as a unique cultural and educational facility that would have been a powerful magnet for investment and visitors in the heart of the City of London.

“We feel that London has missed a great opportunity to embrace a progressive vision for the future of the City.”