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1) HISTORIC BUILDINGS & MONUMENTS COMMISSION FOR ENGLAND (ENGLISH HERITAGE) (2) WESTMINSTER CITY COUNCIL (3) WILLIAM ASHTON v (1) SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMUNITIES & LOCAL GOVERNMENT (2) LAMBETH LOND

The secretary of state was entitled to conclude as a matter of planning judgment that, although a 43-storey tower in Lambeth would harm the setting of Somerset House and conservation areas in Lambeth and Westminster, the benefits of the development would outweigh that harm.

29 September 2009

The applicants applied to quash a decision of the secretary of state to grant planning permission for a development in Lambeth including a 43-storey tower. The development included the provision of a community sports centre and swimming pool which was to be funded by the developer for 50 years, but no affordable housing. The site was not in a conservation area but the impact of the tower on nearby conservation areas and buildings such as Somerset House was a major issue. The planning inspector concluded that planning permission should be refused: the height of the tower would detract unacceptably from the setting of Somerset House and would also harm the settings of conservation areas in Lambeth and Westminster; that harm would not be outweighed by the benefits the scheme could secure. The secretary of state disagreed with the inspector and granted permission. She considered that the benefits of the scheme, including the provision of the sports centre and housing, outweighed the dam...

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