London Mayor takes control of Canary Wharf tower scheme

Boris Johnson
Stepping in: Boris Johnson. Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

Boris Johnson has stepped in to review plans for a skyscraper in Canary Wharf after the application was rejected by Tower Hamlets Council last year.

The Alpha Square development application would comprise of three towers – the tallest standing at 60 storeys – and include more than 600 new homes, a hotel, a primary school, healthcare facilities and retail.

Tower Hamlets Council rejected the application in February, deciding that the scheme shows “clear and demonstrable over-development”, and has suggested the development would “result in unacceptable living conditions” in the surrounding area.

The Mayor of London has the power to take control of planning decisions in cases where he feels the interests of London as a whole are not being taken into account by the council.

Conservative Councillor for Canary Wharf Andrew Wood spoke in favour of the development at council meetings and argues that to reject such a proposal would send the wrong message to developers.

He said: “This is not the perfect building, this is not the perfect solution, but if this was rejected the message would have gone to the development company to come back with a smaller building and the school would not be included.

“If I have to choose between a building that is tall but has a school, or a shorter building with no school, I choose the school.”

Cllr Wood said that the area is in urgent need of more schools, with Stewart Murray, London’s Deputy Mayor for planning, recently estimating that an additional 19 schools are needed to meet demand.

He added: “No other developments coming down the track have any state primary or state secondary schools.”

A spokesman for the Mayor of London said: “There is a very real need for new housing, jobs and additional primary school places to meet growing demand in Tower Hamlets.

“The Mayor has been clear that London must prepare for record population and jobs growth in the city in the next 20 years and has decided to call in these plans to carry out a detailed assessment before making a decision in due course.”



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