Tories: We’ll protect famous buildings

By staff

The Conservatives will make sure historic buildings are not blighted by high-rise structures nearby, shadow arts minister Ed Vaizey has said.

The party will introduce a new planning status for ‘iconic buildings’ which would prevent modern tower blocks of offices and flats being built near them and obscuring their place in a townscape.

Some heritage groups have criticised the government for allowing buildings to be constructed near the Tower of London and the Palace of Westminster.

Mr Vaizey, standing in Wantage in Oxfordshire said: “Labour has dithered in putting in place robust measures to protect some of our most iconic buildings. These are buildings people treasure and are part of our identity.

“We hope that the scheme would provide a significant hurdle against intrusive developments.”

In 2007 a UN body criticised the decision to allow the 50-storey Vauxhall Tower in south London, saying it damaged views of the Palace of Westminster and Unesco has threatened to place the Tower of London on the UN Heritage in Danger list because of surrounding development.

A spokesman for English Heritage said: “We would happily look at any new proposals from the future government, whoever they may be, that benefit the historic environment and are in the public interest.”