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Tower plan axed

PUBLISHED: 15:20 21 January 2009 | UPDATED: 10:23 23 August 2010

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a 33-storey Gherkin-style tower on the riverside have been axed. Mike Snelling, leader of Gravesham Borough Council made the announcement at a press conference at the Civic Centre on Tuesday. But he confirmed plans for the £150 m

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a 33-storey Gherkin-style tower on the riverside have been axed.

Mike Snelling, leader of Gravesham Borough Council made the announcement at a press conference at the Civic Centre on Tuesday.

But he confirmed plans for the £150 million regeneration of the Gravesend Heritage Quarter would go-ahead.

In October last year an exclusive Reporter poll revealed 74 per cent of people questioned where against the tower block at the heart of the project.

Mr Snelling said: "I think the big message that comes from this meeting and conference is that the tower is dead.

"Today's decision protects the essence of the project to provide a platform for the town's bright future. There could never be a time when it has been more necessary to ensure we carry out this primary duty to protect the future economy, generate jobs and produce growth."

Gravesham Council says it has withdrawn the plans for the tower, which would have housed 223 apartments and a restaurant at St Andrew's Gardens, following negative feedback from statutory bodies including English Heritage, campaigners and residents.

Plans for apartments, 120,000 sq ft of retail space, and new offices and leisure facilities will continue.

The tower has divided opinion since being proposed in July last year with pressure group Urban Gravesham being one of its most vocal opponents.

Last Wednesday the group were removed by police after unfurling a 20ft "No to the Tower" banner at the Edinburgh House headquarters in London.

Vice chairman Martin McKay said: It's a victory for the people of Gravesend. It just shows that people can get their voices heard.

"We all want regeneration and we would like to help. We have absolutely no doubt that Edinburgh House and the council are keen to find a solution for the people of Gravesend."

Edinburgh House says is working on viable alternatives and will be putting them forward for consultation as soon as possible.

Managing director Tony Quayle, said: "Edinburgh House remain committed to the scheme. We have been in this town since 2001 and have invested millions of pounds in it. We like the town and believe in the need to invest in it.

"We have carried out a lot of work on the scheme already and intend to finish it."

jason.goodyer@archant.co.uk

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