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Communities Secretary Turns Down Bondway Tower

It appears that the planned Bondway Tower, popular known as the Octave thanks to its eight vertical segments might finally die a death after the Secretary of State for Communities, Eric Pickles decided to refuse it planning permission.

The 149-metre tall, 400 apartment scheme sited in the London borough of Lambeth originally went to a public inquiry held in the summer of 2010 where it was decided that it was an unsuitable design for the site, something Pickles has backed.

Although Pickles recognised that the site is suitable for tall buildings, something that is particularly crucial if the area is to turn into a fully fledged cluster of tall buildings. He also decided that there would be no impact on the Westminster World Heritage site, and that elements of the design from Make were high quality, other elements of the scheme were not welcomed and it was on these negative aspects that the project was refused.

At the heart of the matter was the issue of public amenity with poor pedestrian permeability of the site and a lack of open space. Pickles also singled out the fact he thought the tower was "overbearing", referring to the bulk of the scheme that cuts a slender zigzag profile, but displays an incredibly broad base.

The decision won't come as a surprise to many, but with the options in the planning system now almost run out, it appears that if London & Regional to take advantage of the site they will have to go back to the drawing board and dust off an alternative design by Make, or perhaps bring in another practise altogether.

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