Tulip skyscraper plans hit fresh problems as City Hall planners claim proposal breaches regulations

Alex Daniel
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The City of London is the only borough to have an average height of more than 40 storeys in London

Plans to build the Tulip skyscraper in the City could be nipped in the bud after City Hall officials said the proposals would breach Sadiq Khan’s planning regulations.

Developers plan to build the dramatic 305-metre viewing attraction dubbed ‘The Tulip’, which would be built alongside The Gherkin in the heart of London’s financial district.

Read more: Flower in the City: The Tulip could be the tallest tower in the Square Mil

Unlike its neighbouring skyscrapers throughout the Square Mile, The Tulip, which is just one metre smaller than the Shard, has not been proposed with office space in mind.

In an assessment of the plans, Greater London Authority (GLA) said they breached London Plan, the Mayor’s outline for the city because the height was “unjustified” and would “cause harm to the historic environment”.

The document also said the proposal "fails to provide free to enter publicly accessible viewing areas", which is required under the London Plan.

A spokesperson for The Tulip project said: “We are pleased to see that the Mayor of London considers the use of a visitor attraction as complementing the City.

"We welcome the detailed technical comments by GLA officers and, as part of the ongoing planning process, we will continue to work closely with the City of London Corporation and the GLA to resolve those matters raised and to improve the package of public benefits associated with the Tulip.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor recognises that there are a range of views regarding this application. He will consider the scheme on its merits in due course.”

The Mayor is able to give permission or halt the building of the tower as he sees fit, after examining the proposals.

Foster and Partners, the architects also responsible for the design of the Gherkin skyscraper nearby, has put forward plans for a rotating gondola ride in three-metre wide glass spheres which would move visitors around the tower’s tip.

Appetite to relax the financial district’s development laws has mounted in recent months amid growing corporate demand for commercial property within the Square Mile.

While the City’s draft plan to broaden tower development will not be reviewed until later next year, growth of tall developments in the Square Mile has already been seen through a number of major developments in the last year.

Read more: Tulip tower may interfere with radar systems, warns London City Airport

The City of London is also the only borough to have an average height of more than 40 storeys in London.

If planning permission, put forward by J. Safra Group and Foster & Partners (owners and architects respectively) is given the green light, construction would be set to begin in 2020 with the project completed by 2025.