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Tate and Bankside residents fight tower block threat

Tate Modern and nearby residents are taking legal advice over plans to build a 20-storey tower block 50 yards from the Tate entrance. The penthouse flat is due to be marketed at around £10m.

Tate Tower protest

"The public invested ú135m in the creation of Tate Modern" says Tate Director Sir Nicholas Serota. "We shall be taking advice on how to protect the public interest."

The planning application by London Town was rejected by seven votes to one by Southwark Planning Committee but this decision was overturned on appeal last month.

Tate Tower protest

However, protesters from Bankside Lofts and Falcon Point complain that the planning inspector insisted on referring to TateáModern as an industrial building and a power station. There was no recognition that visitors come to see the building which was designed by cathedral architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. There was also no mention that the transformation of the building has won the prestigious Pritzker Prize.

Speaking at TateáModern, neighbour Teresa Trowle said that she represented over 130 residents from council tenants to owner occupiers who are overwhelmingly opposed to the tower block on the Mussett paper merchant site. They fear detrimental living conditions and an adverse effect on Tate Modern which locals are proud of.

"The new building should be low rise and a gateway building complementing the Tate" said Teresa Trowle.

Sir Nicholas added: "In any other country the area would be kept as a lung within the city. The site should be part cultural and part community use."

Dean of Southwark Colin Slee, who also lives alongside TateáModern, says: "This scheme will benefit a few and deface the environment for millions."

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