Why London's Tulip skyscraper decision gives hope to Yorkshire plans panels - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Peter Gruen, Shadwell, Leeds.

The decision by senior planning inspectors to back the judgment of London Mayor Khan to turn down the planning application for ‘the Tulip’ is so timely and welcome.

The concerns about ‘insufficient quality’ and the use of vast quantity of reinforced concrete were cited as reasons for dismissing the appeal to build this 305m skyscraper.

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Hallelujah! In Leeds the planning community has obsessed for some years now about housing numbers and some of us cross party have tried to move this agenda forward to think more deeply about quality of design, materials, individual character and adjacencies of house types, roofscapes, sustainability, generous green space; as well as affordable housing, climate change and making places great to live in.

Artist impression of the proposed Tulip building in London. Copyright: Fosters and Partners / SWNS.com.

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We are here to do our best by local communities, they said; and this is not our best.

So why did it get approved? Simple! The house builders are savvy enough to ‘just’ comply with the minimum standards they can get away with and planning officers then state that the application is policy compliant.

But, apart from the house builders, no one is happy – certainly not the local residents, or the local ward members, or even the panel members approving the application and probably not even the officers recommending approval.

The ‘Tulip’ decision by planning inspectors should give hope to local Plans Panels that they do not have to compromise their aspirations and ambitions for inferior design and quality.

Back in April at my last panel meeting I challenged my colleagues to have the courage and reject a development on the grounds of insufficient quality.

I repeat this now – the communities in Leeds will back you and be grateful to find champions for better quality homes and surroundings, which are genuinely fit for the next generation of home owners.

And the Planning Inspectorate may just back you as well.