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Boris in battle for East London’s Columbus Tower

PUBLISHED: 13:01 28 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:46 05 October 2010

BORIS Johnson is using his new planning powers for the first time to call in’ proposals for a skyscraper at Canary Wharf that has been thrown out by the local authority. The mayor is over-ruling Tower Hamlets council which rejected the 63-story Columbus Tower on the Thames waterfront

By Mike Brooke

BORIS Johnson is using his new planning powers for the first time to call in’ proposals for a new skyscraper at Canary Wharf that has been thrown out by the local authority.

The mayor is over-ruling Tower Hamlets council which rejected the 63-storey Columbus Tower at West India Quay on the Thames waterfront on August 4.

The scheme could provide thousands of jobs and help fund Crossrail, Boris says in a statement from City Hall today.

He believes the development, which includes 300,000sq ft of offices, a 192 room hotel and 70 apartments, is of “major strategic importance” with Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs forming a key part of his economic strategy.

SIGNIFICANT

“This is a decision I have not taken lightly,” he says. “I consider Canary Wharf suitable for tall buildings.

“Columbus Tower clearly meets the test of a planning application of major significance to the whole of London.

“There is already a planning consent for a tall building on this site and the development itself would significantly contribute to Crossrail, the most important new infrastructure project London has seen since the first Underground railways were dug by the Victorians.”

This is the first time that the Mayor has exercised his new powers since being elected.

Previously, the Mayor could leave local planning committees like Tower Hamlets to decide, or direct them to refuse if proposals did not conform to London Plan policies.

But new powers allow the mayor to completely take over planning applications from local authorities if developments have implications for the whole of London.

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