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Blackfriars Road skyscraper inquiries to be combined

Two proposals for skyscrapers at the northern end of Blackfriars Road are to be considered at a single public inquiry, the Planning Inspectorate has indicated.

Beetham Tower seen from the north of the Millenniu
Beetham Tower seen from the north of the Millennium Bridge
20 Blackfriars Road
20 Blackfriars Road seen from the south

In March communities secretary Hazel Blears ordered a public inquiry into Beetham's plans for a 51-storey skyscraper hotel designed by Ian Simpson next to Blackfriars Bridge.

Earlier this month she also 'called in' the neighbouring 20 Blackfriars Road scheme which covers the site bounded by Blackfriars Road, Stamford Street, Paris Garden and Christ Church Garden. Circleplane's scheme designed by Wilkinson Eyre includes 42-storey residential tower and 23-storey office tower.

Now the Planning Inspectorate has written to the parties involved to inform then that the two schemes will be considered at the same public inquiry.

A planning inspector will consider whether the Blackfriars Road area is appropriate for very tall buildings and whether the proposals accord with other national and local planning policies before making a recommendation to Ms Blears who will have the final say.

Objectors to the Beetham Tower proposal include the Royal Parks Agency, Westminster City Council and the Waterloo Community Development Group.

Westminster City Council says that the tower would be "seriously harmful" to views from St James's Park and Waterloo Bridge. The Royal Parks Agency contends that the tower's "excessive height" will damage St James's Park.

The inquiry into the Beetham proposal was due to last 16 days but now the 20 Blackfriars Road proposal has been added to the same inquiry this is likely to be lengthened.

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