Mayor approves Columbus Tower plans
Columbus Tower has been approved by Boris Johnson, securing a £4million contribution to Crossrail.
Tower Hamlets Council rejected plans for the 63-storey West India Quay scheme in June, but the London Mayor called in the decision in August.
It was the first time that the mayor had used powers introduced back in April 2008, which gave him power to assume complete control over the decision-making process of a given application.
Following last night's decision, Tower Hamlets Council contended that it "was right to resist this proposal", but "understands" the Mayor's view.
It said: "The council remains of the view that it was right to resist this proposal but understands that the Mayor of London believes that the application is of strategic importance to the whole of London.
"We acknowledge the decision taken by the Mayor and will work with the developers to ensure the residents of Tower Hamlets benefit from the plans."
Permission had been granted for a similar scheme on the site back in 2005, but with the five-year time limit for commencing construction due to expire, site owner Commercial Estates Group put a fresh application on the table in a bid to extend the clearance.
However, the council stated that the scale of the shard-like building - which would feature 192 hotel rooms, 74 apartments and 1,468 square metres of commercial space - was "totally unsuitable" for a conservation area project.
The Mayor's decision to "call in" the project made it extremely likely that Columbus Tower would be cleared, but stakeholders and members of the public were invited to make representations and observe the debate at City Hall to last night.
As a result of gaining clearance, the developer will have to contribute £4million to Crossrail, £1million to affordable housing in the area and more than £2million towards the local community, including investment in bus services and training initiatives.
The Mayor said: "I have now had the chance to consider the Columbus Tower application in great detail and, more importantly, had the opportunity to listen carefully, and in person, to the arguments for and against this proposal.
"I am satisfied that all the major concerns have been addressed and I believe the application will not only strengthen the success story of the Isle of Dogs, but will be hugely beneficial to the whole of London.
"As well as being suited to the Canary Wharf district with its distinctive tall buildings, the overall size of the development means that it will deliver a huge contribution to the cost of Crossrail, which is central to the continued success and prosperity of both Canary Wharf and the entire capital. Considerable sums will also be invested to bring lasting benefits to the local community and therefore I have no doubt that this development must be allowed to go ahead."
Nick Lee of applicant Commercial Estates Group said: "We are delighted that the Mayor has considered the applications and decided to grant conditional planning permission and conservation area consent for Columbus Tower. We look forward to working closely with the GLA and London Borough of Tower Hamlets as the scheme progresses."