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High Court challenge over 'Tate Tower'

Plans for a 20-storey tower block right next to Tate Modern won the go-ahead after Southwark planners got into a "terrible muddle", the High Court was told today.

The whole planning procedure was so flawed that objectors did not get a fair hearing, and the planning permission should now be quashed, said Richard Clayton QC, representing Bankside Residents for Appropriate Development, who fear their homes will be blighted by the project.

Mr Clayton told Mr Justice Collins the scheme involved a tower block with 28 apartments, plus mixed retail and restaurants on the ground floor, at 44 Hopton Street, next to the internationally famous art gallery.

It would significantly affect residents at Bankside Lofts, opposite the art gallery and residents at Falcon Point, which contained 110 low-rise flats north of the proposed tower block site.

The site, once a paper warehouse, was sold to developers London Town for 7.6m in December 2000, after the Tate had tried and failed to buy it.

Today Mr Clayton told the judge: "For reasons which are difficult to fathom, Southwark got itself into a terrible muddle about what actually it was refusing."

BROAD are also arguing in court that their right to the enjoyment of their property under the European Convention on Human rights will be breached if the tower, which will overshadow their homes and hit property values, is built.

The residents also say the planning inspector referred to Tate Modern as "an icon of international repute" – but then "irrationally" concluded that reputation derived from its use and not its appearance.

Last July, Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota joined the residents in a street protest against the scheme.

Today's legal challenge is expected to last two days.

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