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Walkie Talkie Public Inquiry Finishes

The public inquiry for 20 Fenchurch Steet has drawn to a close.

The final submission from English Heritage involved a number of attacks on the building design including EH lawyer, Robert McCraken slating the structure for its proposed lighting scheme claiming at night it would like "an upturned flying saucer". We assume this means McCracken has actually seen ďan upturned flying saucer" to draw comparisons between it and the Walkie Talkie to start with and believes in aliens.

English Heritage also attacked the tower's "attention seeking form" implying that buildings which seize your attention are bad and bland, boring architecture should be favoured.

Most surprisingly was the attempts by McCraken to draw comparisons between the 10% level of renewables the City of London has as a target for new developments with their opposition 200 years ago to the abolition of slavery, a Godwinesque attempt at miscasting his opponents argument.

Russell Harris, QC for Land Securities in turn attacked English Heritage for the weakness of their argument citing the findings of past public inquiries such as the one into Potters Field that Berkeley Homes won. Harris argued that in that case English Heritage had also attacked the architectural merit of the scheme but had failed to make a submission backing up their argument.

The public inquiry has become increasingly absurd on the part of English Heritage when compared to the arguments from Land Securities that have shown that 20 Fenchurch Street, whether you like it or hate the top heavy design, fulfils all the requirements of the planning system as they are today.

Whether rationality wins out the day with the minister who decides the fate of the project, Ruth Kelly remains to be seen. A decision by the Secretary of State is expected before July 2007.

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20 Fenchurch Street London
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