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Old March 14th, 2007, 04:44 AM   #21
Zaki
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Old March 14th, 2007, 09:15 AM   #22
hkskyline
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Skyscraper ban next to world heritage sites
8 March 2007
The Daily Telegraph

DEVELOPERS will be banned from building ugly skyscrapers close to the Tower of London, Durham Cathedral and Liverpool's waterfront under new plans due to be published today.

The Heritage White Paper is expected to give Britain's 27 world heritage sites the same protection from new, unsightly buildings as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Other sites which will get the new planning "buffer zones'' include Canterbury Cathedral, the city of Bath, Westminster Palace and Edinburgh city centre.

The move follows criticism last year from the United Nation's heritage body Unesco that Britain was failing to protect some of London's most treasured views.

Unesco will decide later this year whether to put the Tower of London on a list of endangered heritage sites - a move that will severely embarrass the Government. Today's White Paper was drawn up by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The new buffer zones could affect the erection of new London skyscrapers in Southwark, around Victoria and at Westminster. Under the rules, any developments planned close to a heritage site will have to be called in for a public inquiry.

The rules are also expected to stamp out stone cladding and satellite dishes close to the most important landmarks.

Traditionally world heritage sites have had no legal planning protection.

The plans, due to be outlined by Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, will put the Government on a collision course with the London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, a supporter of large office developments in the capital.

Other world heritage sites include maritime Greenwich, Stonehenge, the Giant's Causeway, Hadrian's Wall, the coastline from Exmouth to Lyme Regis, the Cornish tin mines and the Welsh Blaenavon industrial site.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 09:16 AM   #23
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Top architects speak up for the 'Walkie-Talkie'
7 March 2007
Financial Times

Some of the world's most famous architects have thrown their weight behind plans for a 39-storey skyscraper on the edge of the City of London.

The public inquiry into the "Walkie-Talkie" at 20 Fenchurch Street, proposed by Land Securities, opened yesterday. The inquiry, which comes amid a growing concern about London's changing skyline, is set to pit an array of traditionalists against modernists.

Frank Gehry, the architect behind New York's Guggenheim museum, has written to the inquiry describing the building as a "great addition to the London skyline".

Lord (Norman) Foster and Lord (Richard) Rogers, Britain's two most famous architects, wrote a joint letter suggesting the tower had "overwhelming support" and would improve London's "drab and uneventful" panorama. Eugene Kohn of Kohn Pederson Fox has also backed the scheme.

But others are set to argue against the skyscraper, which lies to the east of the Square Mile, away from the existing cluster of towers which includes the Gherkin and Tower 42 and will soon be joined by the Heron Tower and the Pinnacle.

Letters of opposition have been received from critics including the Westminster Society and the dean of St Paul's Cathedral.

Paddy Pugh of English Heritage said the tower would be London's "ugliest and most oppressive" building. The heritage group has demanded a new "Sky Gateway" free of skyscrapers between the City and Canary Wharf. If it were successful, a blow would be dealt to the prospects for the Walkie-Talkie, designed by architect Rafael Vinoly.

English Heritage said the tower would be an "ungainly and brutally dominant expression of commercialfloorspace" that would harm London's historic character.

"Tall buildings can work well in the right place. However, it would be both reckless and short-sighted to consider only the economic benefits they may provide," it said. "This is exactly what the Corporation of London has done."

The corporation gave planning permission to the tower last year but the scheme was called in by Ruth Kelly, local government secretary, in October. Ms Kelly is understood to have acted under pressure from Unesco to protect views of the Tower of London. The UN's heritage wing will decide in the summer whether to place the Tower on its endangered list.

Under a white paper published yesterday, the Tower will be one of 24 world heritage sites in the UK set to be given buffer zones. Every proposed skyscraper in the zone will be called in for review by ministers.

The inquiry comes amid rising tensions between skyscraper advocates including Ken Livingstone, the London mayor, and opponents including many councils and heritage groups.

Mr Livingstone is set to win new powers next month to overrule council planning decisions on tall buildings. The mayor has told the inquiry the Walkie-Talkie should get planning consent, as it is an "innovative and unique design".
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