A huge tower could be built in Central London as the new Housing Secretary is expected to overrule the Mayor of London.
Michael Gove is allegedly planning to overrule Sadiq Khan’s decision to reject the ‘Tulip’ – a 1,000ft viewing tower next to the Gherkin that would become London’s second-tallest building.
Government officials are expected to approve the project, believing it will boost foreign investment into London’s financial district, the Telegraph reports.
The plans for the Tulip were approved by the City of London Corporation in 2019 – but blocked by Khan’s office, claiming it would damage the city’s skyline.
A City of London spokesperson said: “It was the judgement of the committee that the Tulip would play an important role in further realising a vision for the Square Mile as a vibrant 24/7 world-class destination and that the building would send a powerful message that London remains open to all.”
However, not all of the City’s planning members are in favour of the Tulip.
Graeme Harrower, a member of the City’s Planning and Transport Committee, said: “The statement by the City of London Corporation’s spokesperson that the ‘building will send a powerful message that London remains open to all’ doesn’t make sense.
“London isn’t closed, and even if it were, putting up a Las Vegas style tower (which won’t be completed until a few years’ time) wouldn’t open it.
“Like this statement, the City corporation’s original decision to approve this architectural weed represented a triumph of spin over sense.”
Another source told the Local Democracy Service they would be surprised if Gove supports the development.
They said: “The City generally has a pro-development bench but not for vanity projects.”
They added that many members of the City’s planning committee are against the plans but approved them in 2019 because there were no solid planning reasons to reject it.
The Safra private banking family wants to build the tower in the Square Mile, featuring a restaurant and public viewing platforms.
If the plans are approved, the Tulip would be London’s second-tallest building after the Shard.
Robert Jenrick, Gove’s predecessor, was set to determine the project in September but the decision has been moved to November 11 at the latest.
A spokesperson for the Mayor told The Telegraph: “The Mayor rejected this application two years ago due to the negative impact it would have on London’s skyline and the very limited public benefit. He awaits the Planning Inspectorate’s decision in due course.”
A spokesman for the Government said: “A decision on this case will be issued on or before November 11. The variation of the timetable should not be taken as giving any indication of what the final decision will be.”
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities was contacted for comment.