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Paddington Tower by Berkeley Approved After Reduction in Height

A West London tower being developed by Berkeley Homes has finally received planning consent after eight storeys were eliminated from its proposed 30-storey height.

At a recent meeting, Westminster Council gave the long-awaited green light to the West End Green project located near the Paddington Green police station. Once complete, the development will make 700 new homes available.

The tower was conceived and designed by Squire & Partners, an architect firm that also created the South Bank’s Shell Centre redevelopment. Another of its projects, the Renzo Piano Paddington Pole, was recently cited as a precedent for higher buildings in the area. The latter is being developed by Sellar Property.

Campaigners loudly decried the decision. Barbara Weiss, an architect who heads the Skyline Campaign, called it “naive and inappropriate.” She warned that the decision would set a bad precedent and result in what she called “similar unsympathetic tall buildings” being constructed to the detriment of the surrounding structures.

Ms Weiss pointed out that the planning officer had even conceded that the council could not prevent the tower from setting a new standard for other, similar buildings.

Other objectors included Karen Buck, the local MP, and Historic England. The latter organisation said that the tower would negatively impact four Royal Parks and damage several conservation areas too.

Local civic groups complained about the design and the height, which they claimed was a concession to commercial demands instead of skyline concerns.

Specialists in Structural Defects

Westminster planning officers tried to calm the complaints by stating that any harm caused would be “less than substantial”, which is the NPPF yardstick for acceptability, and any problems would be balanced out by the benefits of reviving a long-neglected location.

Angus Michie, Berkeley St. Edward divisional chairman, said that the build location had been an eyesore for over 30 years, and the plans will make it into a newer, more attractive neighbourhood where people can live, work, shop, and socialise.

A spokesman for the Westminster council said that in response to local objections, the height had been reduced since the application had originally been submitted.

Berkeley issued a planning statement pointing out that Renzo Piano’s tower at 31 London Street created a new standard for building height in Westminster and that the perception about taller buildings in the Westminster area appears to be changing, particularly in the area where the new tower will be located.

The ‘Paddington Pole’ has since been put on hold after Sellar Property agreed to take another look at its proposed height of 72 storeys.

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