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Carmody Groarke wins approval for skyscraper in London's Paddington

Carmody Groarke wins approval for skyscraper in London's Paddington

Architecture studio Carmody Groarke has received planning permission for a 20-storey hotel tower in London's Paddington, as the area readies itself for the opening of a new Crossrail station.

Carmody Groarke's design for developer British Land will see a 113-metre-high hotel tower built on Sheldon Square.

The design, which was approved by Westminster council planners last week, will replace the two-storey Paddington Central Estate Management Office building.

Comprising 20 floors above ground and three below, the building will accommodate between 180 and 200 hotel rooms. The base of the tower is to include shops, cafes and bars, while a further restaurant will be set on the top floors of the tower.

The first basement level will provide access to the adjacent canal and towpath.

The third basement level is expected to provide access to a new Crossrail station expected to open at Paddington in December 2018. This 60-mile stretch of railway, known as the Elizabeth Line, will pass through the station, connecting Reading with London and Heathrow.

"This new hotel at Paddington Central will play an important role in the continuing transformation of the wider area capitalising on the opening of the Elizabeth Line in 2018," said a statement from British Land.

"We look forward to bringing this project forward as part of our long-term plans for Paddington Central."

The plans have been met with "considerable objection". The Royal Parks, which manages London's eight inner-city parks, objects to the scheme's "excessive height" and its impact on Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Regent's Park and Primrose Hill. It suggests a height restriction of 75 metres on the site.

Meanwhile the Canal and Rivers Trust has concerns about overshadowing the adjacent waterway.

The scheme received just two votes of approval from neighbouring residents, with 98 of 100 responses objecting to the scheme on grounds of loss of light, views and privacy, and to the height of the building, which they believe is out of scale with its context.

But Westminster City Council planners concluded the building is "acceptable in design terms" in their Sub Committee Report.

"The proposed new building will be a prominent introduction into the townscape, but its height and slender form would complement its immediate context (the Paddington Opportunity Area) and would on the whole have a neutral impact on the wider historic townscape," they stated.

Carmody Groarke's hotel tower is just one of several hundred new towers in the pipeline for London, which have attracted criticism for their height.

Most controversially, campaigners against a proposal for Paddington by Renzo Piano forced significant changes to the design. Initially 54 storeys was slashed off its height, but the campaigners eventually halted the progress of the entire planning application.

Campaign group SAVE Britain's Heritage challenged UK secretary of state Sajid Javid in court yesterday over his refusal to call in Piano's proposal for public inquiry.

The organisation, alongside others including the Skyline Campaign and Historic England, claim Renzo Piano's revised plans for a "floating" glass cube will negatively impact the conservation area surrounding Paddington station.

Paddington-based architect Terry Farrell, 77,  has been very vocal in his criticism of the planned redevelopment of the area. He described Piano's original £1 billion super-tall development as a "piecemeal, opportunistic scheme".