Retrofitting buildings

Develop an interactive 3D model of London’s skyline

02 March 2016

The London Assembly today requested that the Mayor re-examine the planning approach to tall buildings in outer London.

The Assembly agreed a motion calling for the Mayor to establish a ‘Skyline Commission’ of experts, which should develop more detailed and rigorous master-planning processes in London boroughs and better engage with local residents in affected areas.

Andrew Dismore AM, who proposed the motion said:

“Tall buildings can only benefit the London skyline if they are in the right places and respect the character and identity of the surrounding area, which is rarely the case in outer London.

“We need to ensure that higher population density as a result of tall buildings doesn’t have a knock on effect on local public services, such as health provision, school places or local transport infrastructure. It’s also vital the developers ensure they are making the areas in which they erect tall buildings liveable, with local employment opportunities and proper amenities for their future residents.”

The full text of the Motion is:

This Assembly notes with concern the growing proliferation of tall buildings in outer London.

These buildings threaten the cherished suburban character of outer London boroughs. In Barnet for example, New London Architecture has identified 21 tall building projects in the development process. Many of these have no place in the suburbs, such as the 31-storey tower, one of three planned,  being built in otherwise low-rise West Hendon and threatening the Welsh Harp SSSA.

Tall buildings can make a positive contribution to city life and the skyline, but only if they are in the right places, meet the right needs, and respect the character and identity of the surrounding area. Most of those proposed for suburban London fail to meet these criteria.

This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor to rethink his approach to tall buildings in outer London and to:

  • establish a ‘Skyline Commission’ of experts from a range of fields;
  • develop more detailed and rigorous master-planning processes, including engagement with local residents and stakeholders, especially within Opportunity Areas;
  • implement a clusters policy; and
  • require all developers with proposals for tall buildings in outer London to consider other building configurations.

The GLA should also support the development of a fully interactive 3D computer model of London’s emerging skyline in order to allow development proposals to be visualised within the context of their impact on the London skyline.

Notes to editors

  1. Watch the full webcast.
  2. The motion was agreed by 11 votes for, 3 against.
  3. Andrew Dismore AM who proposed the motion is available for interviews. Please see contact details below.
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Ben Walker on 020 7983 5769. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.