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London mayor blocks plans for 'Tulip' skyscraper


LONDON (Reuters) - London's mayor has blocked plans to build a glass viewing platform 1,000 feet (300 m) above Britain's capital on a slender tower shaped like a tulip, saying it would be of limited public benefit and damage the skyline.

The building, designed by British architect Norman Foster's company, would have been the second tallest in western Europe, beaten only by the nearby "Shard", but its design was deemed not good enough.

"The mayor has a number of serious concerns with this application and, having studied it in detail, has refused permission for a scheme that he believes would result in very limited public benefit," Sadiq Khan’s spokesman said.

"In particular, he believes that the design is of insufficient quality for such a prominent location, and that the tower would result in harm to London’s skyline and impact views of the nearby Tower of London world heritage site."

The Tulip Project Team developer said it was disappointed by Khan’s decision because the building would generate economic benefits.

The group declined to comment on whether it would submit revised plans for the site, saying it would take time to consider its next steps.

Planning authorities in the City of London's finance district in April recommended the building - which got its nickname because the design shows a thin stalk topped by a glass bulb - should be granted planning permission.

To be financed by the Brazilian billionaire Jacob Safra, the building would have comprised a glass viewing platform, rotating pods on the outside and an education center. Construction had been planned to begin next year and finish in 2025.

The heritage group Historic England, a longstanding critic of the design, welcomed the decision. The group said in a statement the building is "essentially a tall lift shaft with a bulge on top," adding that the proposal would have caused permanent and irreversible damage to London's skyline.

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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