Tower of London “could lose World Heritage status”

The Tower of London could lose its World Heritage status because of developments around the site, a campaign group has warned.

UN heritage body UNESCO is sending a delegate to look at the site this week.

In previous reports is has laid out concerns over buildings which have gone up in the Tower’s vicinity in the last five years.

A planning application for a nine-storey hotel is the latest development to cause a stir and is to be voted on at a council meeting tonight.

Business and residents association, the Trinity Square group is warning that the site could be placed on UNESCO’s “in danger” list if the hotel is given the green light.

The group said: “It’s clear that UNESCO have deep concerns about the impact of inappropriate developments around the Tower of London.”

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that UNESCO would be looking at the site, alongside Westminster Palace, this week.

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A spokeswoman said: “Both the Tower of London and Westminster are in an excellent state of conservation and the issues UNESCO have highlighted relate to development in their surroundings, factors which we believe are well taken account of through our existing planning regime.

“We will be arguing strongly that there is no case for putting these sites on the ‘in danger list’.”

The UK has 28 World Heritage sites with five - the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster, Maritime Greenwich and Kew Gardens - in London.

The planning application by Dutch hotel chain CitizenM is for a 370 bed hotel on Trinity Square, which is opposite the Tower.

In a strange twist, the hotel group’s application was voted down in a strategic development committee last month but because of a technical blunder the decision wasn’t logged so another vote will take place tonight.