The Tulip, a controversial bulbous viewing platform planned for the City of London could be approved following a planning appeal and inquiry.

The tall tower is planned as a viewing platform, with a concrete spine taking people to the bud at the top, with viewing floors and a series of outside glass lifts. This gives it a slender stem-like appearance but does have the serious downside of not containing any commercial space beneath the viewing floor, so the building can serve just one unique function.

The tower received planning approval from the City of London in April 2019, but the development was called in by the Mayor of London, and approval was refused in July 2019. The developer appealed in January 2020 and a public inquiry was held earlier this year. A decision was due last month, but delayed, presumably due to the government reshuffle, and will be given next month.

However, the Telegraph reports that the government is minded to side with the City of London and give approval to the controversial tower.

“The Tulip would play an important role in further realising a vision for the Square Mile as a vibrant 24/7 world-class destination and that the building would send a powerful message that London remains open to all,” a City of London spokesperson told the Telegraph.

It is certainly a striking design, and in a city lacking viewing floors on top of skyscrapers it would likely be very popular, but London is already rich in viewing floors, and getting more in the future, so the economic need for another viewing platform is difficult to work out.

If the government gives approval for the tower, it will be interesting to see how the inquiry dealt with the negative issues raised in the GLA report without a fundamental rethink of the entire building.

If built, then the Tulip said that they expect to attract around 1.2 million visitors each year, although that is to be compared to around 3.5 million visiting the London Eye, or 718,000 to the View from The Shard. There’s also now the free Sky Garden and Garden at 120, and coming soon, the viewing floors at the top of 1 Undershaft, 100 Leadenhall Street, and 55 Gracechurch Street.

The formal decision is currently expected to be on or before Thursday 11th November.

(c) DBOX for Foster + Partners


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  1. ComeWhatMay says:

    No to the Tulip! It has to be the ugliest building I have ever seen. We already have the London Eye, the Shard and the Walkie Talkie. They deliver great views of London. We do not need this ugly thing to look at.

  2. Terry Jones says:

    Another stupid vanity project. And what sort of view could you expect when it’s shoehorned between other colossal buildings.

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