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London is well known for its distinctive architectural profiles and sweeping views, which were for centuries defined by the dome of St. Paul’s, the Tower of London and a wonderful peppering of church spires. This changed dramatically in the twentieth century as technology, policy and fashion led to a rise in tall buildings. As London’s skyline grew upwards, so did an awareness of protecting cherished views, and the first related height restriction policy was established in 1936.
Eighty years later, the realisation that a 42 storey tower in Stratford spoiled a special clear-sky profile view of St. Paul’s from 10 miles away has spurred debate about how to protect the skyline and to whom views of our city belong. With over 450 tall building consents in the pipeline, the London Plan under revision, innovative new tools available and discussions about other ways of achieving density, the subject of curating London’s skyline is very current.
Historic England’s London Planning Director, Emily Gee, will put this debate in historic context in a talk for The London Society.