London Assembly calls for Skyline Commission to control skyscrapers

Canary Wharf's skyline, seen from east London's Caspian Court, Bromley-by-Bow

Canary Wharf's skyline, seen from east London's Caspian Court, Bromley-by-Bow - Credit: Archant

London Assembly’s budget chairman John Biggs is calling for a Skyline Commission of experts to advise City Hall to carry out design reviews for any future high-rise development.

He is urging Mayor Boris Johnson to rethink his approach to skyscraper development he says isn’t solving London’s housing crisis.

“There are parts of east London where there is scope for tall residential buildings,” he said. “But even here there are additional pressures on local services, particularly on the Isle of Dogs.

“These put pressure on schools, doctors, transport and open spaces which are causing concerns.”

Research by Biggs, whose east London constituency includes the Canary Wharf skyscraper business district, found 236 buildings of 20 stories or more in the pipeline across London.

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He accuses the Mayor of waving through proposals for skyscrapers which “don’t respect the character” of the areas.

“These do little to help people looking for an affordable place to live,” Biggs added. “London is fast becoming a high-rise playground for the super-rich—leaving more and more people priced out of the market.”

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The 230 skyscrapers on the drawing board include 189 residential—primarily luxury flats with relatively few in the low-cost ‘affordable’ end of the market, making “little contribution” to solving the housing crisis, Biggs points out.

The Assembly has voted for the Mayor to adopt new policies to protect London’s skyline.

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