Tate Tower: London Town wins planning appeal

A 20-storey residential and commercial skyscraper is set to be built next to Tate Modern in Hopton Street after troubled developers London Town plc won their planning appeal.

The development will proceed subject to there being no legal challenge to the validity of the decision within the next six weeks. The development will comprise 65,000 sq.ft consisting of 19 flats, 9 key worker units, restaurant and office space.

John Dodwell, Finance Director of London Town, said: "I am delighted by the successful outcome to the planning inquiry and pay tribute to the hard work of our professional advisors. As the joint venture company which owns the site is treated in the London Town consolidated accounts as a quasi subsidiary, the underlying value of the Hopton Street development is incorporated in the 2002 London Town Group accounts. The 2002 accounts were prepared on the basis that planning permission for the development would be obtained."

On Wednesday shares in London Town closed up 4p at 33.5p

As we reported in April, uncertainty about the development had led auditors to cast doubt on the future viability of the London Town business.

In September 2001 Tate director Nicholas Serota, commenting on the original 32 storey plans, described the development as "an opportunistic attempt to cash in for private gain on the public benefits that have been created" in recent years on Bankside, dismissing the inclusion of affordable housing in the plans as a "cynical move".

The plans – vociferously opposed by Bankside residents – were rejected by Southwark Council in October 2002.

Architecture critic Rowan Moore, writing last month in the Evening Standard, says that "developers are treating the Tate's boost to the area as a Klondike, to be mined for all it is worth" and adds that the tower will "blight the approach to the museum, and will obstruct the views and daylight of people who live nearby".

Moore also described the planning inquiry as a "magnificent parade of specious argument".

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