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Plane safety concerns trim top off skyscraper

Plane safety concerns trim top off skyscraper

Plans to build a 965 ft skyscraper in the City of London have run into a problem - it's too tall.

The 22 Bishopsgate skyscraper, which is being funded by an AXA-led consortium, has fallen foul of rules saying that it could pose a threat to low-flying aircraft coming in to land at London City Airport. The tower cranes that would be needed to erect the highest floors would creep up above the 1,000 ft mark and thus breach Civil Aviation Authority regulations.

In response, the developers have submitted a revised planning application to trim the height of the building by four storeys, reducing its height to 872 ft. It means that instead of a pointed pinnacle, the building will have a flat roof.

Provided the plan goes through, the construction of the tower should be completed in 2019, with as many as 1,400 people working on the project in 2018.

The change is the latest problem to hit the site, which was originally set to host the Pinnacle Building. This tower had reached seven storeys before the financial crisis halted its construction, and the new tower only received planning permission after winning a 'right to light' planning dispute with its neighbours. Its preferred steelwork contractor William Hare pulled out, with Severfield snapping up that contract.

It may not just be 22 Bishopsgate that struggles with the height issue. Planning permission was recently granted for the 1 Undershaft building, which will be 1,001 ft high if built to that height. Unless the cranes can be built lower and the highest floors put in place using other means, it may also have problems being constructed to that height.

Indeed, it could be that the air safety concerns will prevent the Square Mile being able to ever host London's tallest building. At 1,016 ft, the record is currently held by the Shard, which due to its South Bank location is not on the City Airport flight path.

 

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