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New protection for London’s river views

Ken Livingstone has published new planning guidance on the protection of and management of important views of London landmarks.

The new guidance published by Ken Livingstone prot
Ken Livingstone on the Queen's Walk

The final London View Management Framework Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) is the culmination of a consultation process launched more than two years ago.

The document confirms the precise details of 11 views focussed on St Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London and the Palace of Westminster that have been approved by Government for protection, including a brand new view of the Tower of London across the river from the Queen's Walk in front of City Hall.

"London's landmarks are cherished by Londoners and visitors to this great city," says the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

"At present too much uncertainty surrounds the planning process and how we protect these views, leading to expensive public inquiries and costly delays. Together, the London Plan and this guidance will provide much-needed certainty for developers and planners.

"For the first time, this will help everyone to take a balanced view of development proposals, their impact on London's major landmarks and their contribution to the capital's character and identity. As a result, we can all look forward to development across London that marries high quality design whilst protecting our historic built environment.

"This will allow London to remain a competitive world city by developing in a dynamic, organic manner without inappropriate restraints."

All parties involved in development within these 11 viewing corridors must take account of this guidance to ensure the landmarks within them are not obscured from stipulated viewing points.

The planning guidance also introduces 17 riverside and other panoramic views that were never before recognised under the previous view protection arrangements.

These include views from river crossings between Lambeth Bridge and Tower Bridge, Bankside, the South Bank near the National Theatre, Jubilee Gardens and views of the South Bank from Victoria Embankment.

Criticism

The new SPG has not been universally welcomed. Last week the London Assembly passed a motion objecting to the narrowing of viewing corridors from vantage points in outer London such as Richmond Park.

"These proposals take away the protection of something historic and unique that, once gone, will almost certainly be gone forever," says Tony Arbour AM (Conservative) who proposed the motion. "That's why the viewing corridors were protected in the first place, and why they should continue to be protected.

"Development in London is necessary, but it can take place without sacrificing our historic views. It is possible to progress while preserving the best of the old."

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