The proposed Tulip skyscraper is set to get the green light next week after a City of London planning boss recommended it for approval.
A report from the City Corporation’s chief planning officer Annie Hampson said the 1,000ft tower would give London “a new iconic building”.
The planning application for the Sir Norman Foster-designed structure next to the Gherkin is now due to go before the Corporation’s planning committee on Tuesday for a formal decision.
Today’s report said the case for the building — shaped like a bud on a 787ft stalk — was “very finely balanced” because of legitimate concerns about the impact it will have on protected views of the Tower of London.
However, it concluded that the damage to the setting of the World Heritage site would be “less than substantial” and more than offset by a boost to tourism and a “classroom in the sky” education centre that will be made available to 40,000 state school pupils every year.
The Tulip will have double-decker lifts and glass pods that will rotate on tracks built into the outside, as well as a bar, restaurants and a viewing platform.
The report lists a number of objections and concerns. Sixteen people said it was “a poor and unattractive design which adds to the visual clutter of the London skyline (including the phallic nature of the building)”.
If the planning committee approves the scheme, Mayor Sadiq Khan will have two weeks to decide whether to call it in and potentially overturn the decision.
Construction could begin as early as next year, with an opening in 2025.
A spokesman for the project said: “The Tulip Project welcomes the decision by the City of London’s planning officers to recommend resolution to grant planning permission.”