Strategic View of St Paul's Cathedral from Richmond Park (1)

MQT on 2016-12-14
Session date: 
December 14, 2016
Question By: 
Tony Arbour
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor



The Manhattan Loft Gardens development in Stratford is encroaching on the protected strategic view of St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park. Will you investigate the GLA planning team to find out how this could have occurred and what can be done to resolve the situation?



Answer for Strategic View of St Paul's Cathedral from Richmond Park (1)

Answer for Strategic View of St Paul's Cathedral from Richmond Park (1)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Now I realise the reason for the latitude.  Thank you for this question, Assembly Member Arbour.  I know this is a matter that for you and many of your constituents is something you feel strongly about.


I have declared that I am strongly pro‑development when it delivers the homes that Londoners need and I want to make it easier to build the homes that are needed to meet London’s housing crises.  I am not against tall buildings per se.  However, development should of course respect London’s heritage and so, when this issue was first brought to my attention by the Friends of Richmond Park last months, I did instruct my planning team to investigate the matter and report back to me.  Manhattan Loft Gardens is about 23 kilometres or 14 miles from King Henry VIII’s Mound in Richmond and was granted planning permission by the Olympic Delivery Authority in July 2011.


As we have all been made aware it is now visible under certain conditions from King Henry VIII’s Mound, but I am afraid it does not fall within any of the areas where specific additional consultation was or is required in order to safeguard the view of St Paul’s Cathedral from this point.  Specifically this view was first identified and given planning status in 1991.  Although the Strategic View Management Framework that regulates this view has changed several times since then, it appears no one ever anticipated a building so far away from Richmond and more than 7 kilometres behind the dome of St Paul’s might be visible in that way.  Going forward, consideration needs to be given to including more distant boroughs in the list that must undertake further consultation to prevent this happening again.  However, this would currently need Government agreement unless the necessary powers are delegated to the Mayor, as has been sought.


Tony Arbour AM Thank you very much, Mr Mayor.  You have several times during this meeting told us about the things that you can do.  One of the things that you can do, and you have mentioned the London Plan, I wonder, Mr Mayor, if you would say now, and you have talked about consultation, that you will include the more distant boroughs.  In this case it is Barking as well as Newham.  You are absolutely right that no one thought that a building so tall would be built behind St Paul’s and would be visible from here, but this is something that you can easily stop.  I have discussed this matter with ministers and there will be great willingness for them to assist you in this.


 I am simply asking you - will you say that as part of the emerging London Plan you will issue a SPG saying that these boroughs should - they will not be obliged to as yet, but because it is part of the emerging London Plan - notify the GLA if any buildings are being proposed which are going to be in this viewing corridor?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes, if I can I will.  That is what I want to do, subject to advice.


Tony Arbour AM Okay, thank you very much for that.  Similarly, there must be other views where nobody could possibly have conceived that this kind of thing would happen.  Will you similarly look at those and, again, say to those boroughs which might be affected that they also should notify the GLA?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes.  Can I just be clear?  This is no criticism of the previous administration.  Nobody could have foreseen this.


Tony Arbour AM Thank you very much.