A dramatic new tower known as The Tulip is set to join the City’s skyline after it was given the green light by planners in the Square Mile this afternoon.
The 1,000 foot skyscraper, which has won approval from the City of London's planning committee by 18 votes to seven, will be built next to the Gherkin and is expected to to be the second tallest building in London after the Shard.
Construction on the 305-metre viewing attraction, which has been designed by Foster and Partners, could begin next year, with plans to open in 2025.
The City’s planning chief, Christopher Hayward, said the committee approved the attraction after "a lengthy and robust debate".
The decision comes in spite of sharp criticism from the boss of Historic England, who said the building would cause "irreversible damage to the setting of the Tower of London".
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “This building – a lift shaft with a bulge on top – will cause permanent and irreversible damage to the setting of the Tower of London, and in turn, the image and identity of the capital. It extends the so-called ‘Eastern Cluster’ of very tall structures, creating a cliff edge to the group of tall buildings close to the Tower.
He added: "Harming our heritage surely cannot be justified by the anticipated benefits of this new attraction – essentially a high-level viewing platform and small education space – but there are many of these in London."
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan still has 14 days to sign off on the application.
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.
Instead, the building would act as a “new public cultural and tourist attraction” to draw in visitors and schoolchildren to the City.