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Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has scooped the role of adviser to the developer in London's next major planning inquiry, beating firms such as Nabarro Nathanson
If BLP's client is successful at the call-in inquiry, it will construct Europe's tallest building: the £600m 60-storey London Bridge Tower, designed by Renzo Piano and nicknamed 'The Shard of Glass'. BLP's planning team will run the planning case for Teighmore, a joint venture led by Irvine Sellar between Sellar Property Group and CLS Holdings. The inquiry will look at the effects the tower would have on important strategic views and on the transport system. No formal pitch was held for the work, but it is understood that the developer looked at several other firms. The contact with BLP came via Sellar himself and the firm has also advised CLS in the past. Head of planning Ian Trehearne will lead on the work assisted by Sarah Cox, while planning partner Tim Smith will also be closely involved. The scheme is strongly supported by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, the Greater London Authority, the local council, the London Borough of Southwark and by CABE. But opposition has been mounted by English Heritage, the Governor of the Tower of London and the surveyor of St Paul's Cathedral. The plan was called in just two days after Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott temporarily raised the hopes of skyscraper supporters by approving the 40-storey Heron Tower. That decision followed a six-week inquiry, costing £10m. The London Bridge Tower inquiry is expected to last around four weeks. The high-profile inquiry is a coup for BLP. It was not involved in the Heron case or the planning battle for Swiss Re's tower, which avoided a public inquiry. But Smith told The Lawyer: "The particular developers of those schemes already had their favoured lawyers. You don't build up a specialism in big tower cases. You build experience in high-profile and strategic cases."