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LONDON-Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has called in Sellar Properties’ planning application for the 1,016-ft London Bridge Tower, despite the fact that the local council–the London Borough of Southwark–and London Mayor Ken Livingstone have already approved the proposal. The move will reopen the debate on tall buildings in London only days after a landmark planning decision approving the 720-ft Bishopsgate Tower in the City.

The glass spire, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, will total 1.4 million sf, including 818,000 sf of office space; a 163,500-sf hotel; 14 residential apartments; 21,500 sf of retail and restaurant space; a 10,760-sf gym and parking. Before it can be built a public inquiry will now take place–probably beginning later this year–and a final decision is unlikely before the second half of next year.

Mayor Ken Livingstone expressed disappointment at Prescott’s decision. He said: “London’s office space is now more expensive than that of any other city in the world. To continue to be the chosen location for global corporations we need to have buildings that can accommodate them, particularly in locations like London Bridge on the city fringe. I believe a building of this architectural significance, designed by the world renowned architect, Renzo Piano, will make a beautiful, exciting and positive contribution to the capital’s skyline.”

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