The decision on a skyscraper as tall as The Shard was delayed after concerns about the square were raised

A decision to approve London’s biggest skyscraper has been delayed over fears the 74-storey building would “deprive” office workers of vital outdoor space.

1 Undershaft office tower scheme, which would be the tallest building in the City of London, had been expected to be rubber-stamped when it went to planners yesterday.

But the decision was delayed by officials amid a row over its impact on workers in the Square Mile.

Members voted instead to send it back to applicant Stanhope to allow for “minor tweaks” before returning to committee.

Doubts about whether “minor” changes would address important issues were raised by a handful of councillors.

It’s not known how long it will take for any changes to be made, though a city spokesperson said it’s hoped the proposal will come back “ASAP.”

The 309m tower, next to the Leadenhall Building, would be the tallest structure in a remarkable cluster of skyscrapers on the east side of the city, which includes the ‘Bishopsgate sisters’ at 22 and 8.

It would sit next door to sit next door to 122 Leadenhall Street, known as the Cheesegrater building.

Designed by architect Eric Parry, it would match the height of The Shard and include a viewing platform on the 73rd floor, an educational space for the Museum of London and a public sky garden on the 11th floor.

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The sky garden would replace the current area of ​​St Helen’s Square, where many city office workers congregate at lunchtime.

Justin Black, head of UK development at CC Land which is the lead investor in the Leadenhall Building, told committee members the proposal is “flawed” and called for the decision to be delayed due to concerns including the loss of space in St Helen’s Square and the amalgamation of the building.

“I speak today to remind the committee that this damage, irreversible if it goes forward, is entirely avoidable,” he said.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Lloyd’s of London chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown had written to the company saying it “would deprive the city of a really important gathering space”.

A spokesman for 1 Undershaft said: “We have listened carefully to the comments made regarding the ground floor public space raised by the planning applications sub-committee today.

“We will be working closely with the City of London Corporation and our neighbors in the insurance industry to consider these through minor changes to the system.”

Shravan Joshi, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s planning and transport committee, said the decision had been delayed so developers could consider “minor adjustments in relation to the public realm on the ground floor”.

He added: “This is not a message to industry that we are against development, or that we don’t need to densify the eastern cluster.”

“We have listened carefully to comments about public spaces on the ground floor.”

If the proposal is agreed when it comes back to committee, London Mayor Sadiq Khan will still have the opportunity to consider it before final approval can be granted. It will also require a referral to the next equalization, housing and communities secretary.

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