Noncompliance with planning rules could force Sky Garden changes

The owners of 20 Fenchurch Street could be required to make alterations to the Sky Garden after a planning report ruled that the garden as built differs from the approved plans.

Sky Garden: layout divergence. Image: Rhubarb
Sky Garden: layout divergence. Image: Rhubarb

A report by the City of London's chief planning officer said the layout differs from the plans in a number of ways. One complaint is that the plans included two terraces on either side of the restaurant for diners and non-diners, but the terrace for non-diners was never built. Another issue is that one staircase was built where the drawings had two.

The building owner Land Securities claimed the changes were permissible because minimum areas of publicly accessible space were retained, but the council disagreed.

The owner told the council that it could not change the Sky Garden to fall in line with the plans without closing it for some time and submitted proposed alterations drawn up by landscape architect Gillespies to address the impacts of the changes.

The planning committee discussed the changes at the end of July but opted to defer a decision on whether to accept them until September to allow time to visit the site.

A council statement said: "If they were rejected, the committee would have the option to look into legal action to ensure the Sky Garden was changed back to the exact planning specifications, but this is too far away to speculate on. Whether or not this would be in the public interest (changes could require closure to the public for months) would also need to be considered."

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