Approval Delayed for London Skyscraper as Tall as The Shard

Plans for a skyscraper as tall as The Shard in London have been delayed over minor revisions. The proposed 309.6m building, known as 1 Undershaft, has faced opposition due to its impact on historical sites. The City of London’s planning committee heeded the delay, and even further approvals from the Mayor of London and other Prescott Leaders are required.


Plans have been filed for a new skyscraper in London that will rival the height of The Shard. 1 Undershaft, as it will be known, is planned to be 309.6 meters tall and sited right next to the Leadenhall Building in central London. It would have 74 floors containing office and retail space, a viewing gallery, and a garden.

 Approval Process 
The plans had been expected to be signed off by the City of London’s planning committee but have decided to delay the decision to allow some minor changes. It is also likely that the Greater London Authority will say the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, may need to review and sign off on the plans. Notably, the Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities Secretary has to sign off on the project, too.

 Objections from Historic England 
Historic England objected to the skyscraper, arguing that it would harm the persona and size of the surrounding area. It believes that development could have a harming impact on many Grade-I listed residence, a conservation area, Tower of London World Heritage Site, and St James Park. Opposed to the challenge, too, is the Twentieth Century Society, a charity supporting architectural heritage. They said the dominant Aviva Tower on the site is a large Nineteen Sixties building that ought to be preserved.


 Earlier Approvals and Revisions 
The plans take the place of a previously approved seventy-two-storey tower from November 2019. Amendments were supposed to accommodate the needs of the post-pandemic world and shifting market demand, all of which set within the ever-changing environment of the City of London. Despite the changes, further alterations are now necessary to assuage the making plans committee’s concerns.

 Stand of The City of London
Shravan Joshi, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, said the delay still does not mean any obstacle to development, but it reflects an obligation of ever-greater care in considering density in the eastern cluster. The committee said it will consider the revised proposals at the first opportunity.

 GLA Raises Concern 
The GLA highlighted that these plans no longer fully complied with the London Plan in a few areas. They had further questions about the site’s energy strategy and sustainable development, and how it would impact traffic. If the City of London gives the go-ahead for plans, then Mayor Sadiq Khan will win the balancing act between the public benefits as proposed against the potential effects on heritage assets prior to making a final decision.

 Next Steps 
The proposals will then be reconsidered by the plans committee after necessary amendments have been made. If approved at this stage, the plans will pass to the Mayor of London and the Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities Secretary for final approval.


It will take several stages of approval along the way, plus silent concerns from heritage businesses, for this new skyscraper rivalling 1 Undershaft at the very top to recreate London’s skyline. First of these will be navigating a handful of approval stages and overcoming the quiet concerns of heritage businesses. A decision has been delayed to ensure all factors are considered—this reflects the complex balance between development and protection at the heart of London.

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