other illustrative material to ensure evaluation of the impact of proposed development located close to the Tower of London. The applicant has submitted a full visual assessment demonstrating that the proposed scheme will not result in an unacceptable visual relationship with the World Heritage Site. In particular, the south-eastern elevation and massing has been set back and configured to respect views of the Tower of London from London Bridge.
The existing Three Quays building is visible from within the Tower. It is not necessarily
the case that any structure visible from the Tower or in the skyline will harm the World Heritage site. The applicant’s view assessment states that “it is not possible to turn back the clock and completely isolate the Tower from the outside world. The existence of the City heightens the contrast and appreciation of the historic fabric and makes the Tower’s existence all the more special… What is important is whether a visual intrusion damages the ambience of the spaces within.” The photomontages submitted with the application illustrate that little of the proposed building will be visible and that these views of the new building will be visible only from a limited
number of viewing points within the Tower. On the basis of this information it is considered that the proposed development would not unduly interfere with people’s appreciation of the Tower when viewed from both within and outside the site.
The irregular ‘U’ shaped configuration of the building enables the number of units with
river views to be maximised. This goal was clearly the impetus leading to the final form of the building. The eastern element of the building is the most visually prominent, strongly defining the building’s location at the edge of the City, and its proximity to the river and the Tower of London. The building is stepped back on the western facade to retain views and light to the adjacent building (Sugar Quay). The development is lower on the southern (river side) and taller
to the north. The building height is approximately the same as the existing building and is slightly lower than the consented scheme (1998). The recessing of upper floors reduces the visual bulk of the building and the random pattern of fenestration and stone and metal panels break the horizontality of the neighbouring post-war buildings.
In accordance with London Plan policy 4B.1 the proposed scheme would enhance the
public realm as the majority of the southern and eastern elevations would be glazed and would contain restaurant/retail uses at ground level, giving active frontage to both the riverside walkway and new public open space adjacent to the Tower of London. The basement houses
most of the mechanical and electrical plant and the back-of-house areas for the building and the car parking for the residential units. However, the south-western, ground floor corner of the building (fronting the river) is also shown housing plant/equipment. This presents a blank façade towards the river and occupies a relatively large area of valuable waterfront space. The applicant has indicated that the plant has been located here due to servicing arrangements within the building and that it is not feasible to relocate it. It is considered that further justification should be provided to demonstrate why the plant is unable to be located within a less visually prominent area. The proposal incorporates a water feature at first floor level located
on the southern elevation of the building. This element of the proposal is interesting but additional information on how it would work would be useful.
The vitality and vibrancy of the area will also be enhanced by residential balconies at
levels above the ground floor enabling a good level of surveillance over the Riverside Walkway. The south-facing terrace adjacent to the building would create an attractive and highly usable amenity area for future residents and public. The landscaping of this area and provision of seating for members of the public also form part of the benefits package to be secured by way
of condition of consent.