A campaign group has hit out at the public consultation process into the building of a 72-storey tower in Paddington.
Skyline Campaign is unhappy at its timing, saying information sent out in the middle of December could have been forgotten by residents distracted by the "pre-Christmas frenzy".
The planning application by Sellar Property Group was submitted in December by the same developer and architect team that built The Shard . It will stand 254m tall and has already been dubbed the Skinny Shard, Paddington Shard and Paddington Pole.
The consultation which is part of the due planning process is due to finish at the end of January.
Westminster City Council says interested parties have the whole of the month after Christmas to comment and pointed to a 13-week government target for determining major applications. It also said late representations would be accepted up to the time the application is considered.
Skyline Campaign said residents received letters about the consultation on on December 16 - at the height of the Christmas rush.
Barbara Weiss is co-founder of the group, which claims to support well-designed tall buildings in appropriate locations. She said: “It beggars belief that the consultation period for something this controversial has been held over the Christmas period when most people have their minds on other things.
"Surely Westminster Council and the Greater London Assembly must accept that this is not the way to proceed?”
London's fourth-tallest building
If granted planning permission, the building would be London’s fourth-tallest and situated on former Royal Mail sorting office site in London Street next to the Grade I-listed Paddington Station. The £600 million development would include luxury apartments plus offices, shops, restaurants and cafés.
The Labour group in Westminster has previously spoken of concerns over the plan, saying it had fears over affordable housing and the impact on St Mary’s Hospital .
The Skyline Campaign say if consented, the tower will also open the floodgates for a major cluster of tall buildings in the Paddington area. It says plans for a 38-storey tower on Edgware Road has also been submitted for planning, in parallel with the Sellar Tower.
Ms Weiss continued: “It is a disgrace that this tower is being considered for planning permission without a requirement to seriously analyse the cumulative effect of the whole cluster of other towers, now in the process of being agreed for adjacent sites in Paddington.”
An online petition set up by group received 650 signatures in less than a week.
The planning application was received by Westminster Council on December 2 and validated on December 11.
A spokesperson said: “Residents and businesses in the area, as well as all other interested parties around London will get the whole of January to respond to this planning application – a month and a half in total.
"The developers have also conducted public consultations in the run-up to the application being submitted.
“Given the government target for determining major applications is 13 weeks, including any time after the application has been reported to a planning committee to sign legal agreements, we are dedicating a significant period for public consultation."
The spokesperson added: “There is no doubt that this scheme will bring benefits to the city, but we understand more than most that there has to be a balance between growth and Westminster’s unique heritage.
"All representations will be read and taken into account before the application is discussed by committee and then decided upon.”
Sellar said it also held a public consultation from October 20-23, and following subsequent revisions a second series of exhibitions took place on December 3 and 4.
It said letters were sent to nearly 7,000 addresses at least 10 days before each consultation and that full details of the proposal have been made available on a consultation website which was launched three months ago to coincide with the first day of public consultation in October.
The property group also said the development would bring many positive changes to the area .
The full application can be viewed online , searching 15/11219/FULL, where comments can also be submitted.