London's first rocket-shaped tower fails to launch

Jessica Morris
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Planners told the council it was too "alien" (

​Houston, we have a problem.

Plans to add a 110-metre tall tower in the shape of a rocket to London's skyline have been grounded after planners denounced it as too "alien" for the local area.

A planning application for the Gagarin Tower, named after the first human to travel into space, was rejected by Southwark Council members earlier this week.

Planners struggled to see how the ethereal structure related to the local area or London more generally, describing the planned tower's "design references and literal interpretation" as "completely alien to Southwark".

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"The location is not appropriate for a tall building, and at 30 storeys the "rocket" tower would stand as an isolated and incongruous feature in the townscape," they said in the planning application.

"This would cause significant harm to harm not just to the local area, but to the skyline of London as a whole."

The tower's designers had taken their inspiration from Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who became the first human to journey into outer space when he orbited the earth back in April 1961.

"The striking rocket-sharped design of Gagarin Square is inspired by one of the most important and spectacular events of the 20th century," according to the project's website.

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