A plot is afoot to race ahead with a “second Shard” in Paddington over the New Year. If built, it would be 72 storeys — one floor shorter than its sister tower — overlooking west London between Bayswater and Maida Vale.
The developers could be hoping to avoid adverse publicity over the holiday so as to get planning permission at the beginning of March. At that point major planning decisions are suspended in advance of the mayoral elections. They have the support of the Mayor, Boris Johnson, and his tower-hungry deputy, Sir Edward Lister. They cannot trust either of the new mayoral candidates, Zac Goldsmith or Sadiq Khan, to be sympathetic.
The tower is a shocker. It does not taper, like the Shard, but is a glass tube soaring to a drum with what appears to be a tree on top. It has mysteriously grown by seven storeys since first being mooted at 65 in October. When the developer, Irvine Sellar and his Singaporean backers, acquired the old Royal Mail site at Paddington (allegedly with Johnson’s help), local people assumed the Edwardian baroque building would be adapted for high-density residential use. Having built the Shard, Sellar wants another tower.