Prince Charles has warned skyscrapers are “disfiguring” London’s skyline and “vandalising” the city’s historic sites.

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The prince argued tall buildings are damaging “timeless character” and destroying views for future generations in his speech to a conference on city planning at St. James’ Palace yesterday (31.01.08).

Charles attacked plans to build towers close to historic places like the Tower of London and the City of Westminster, saying: “We seem to be determined to vandalize these few remaining sites which retain the kind of human scale and timeless character that so attract people to them and which increase in value as time goes by

“The key point I want to make is that I am not opposed to all tall buildings. My concern is that they should be considered in their context; in other words, they should be put where they fit properly.”

The prince, who in 1984 famously referred to a proposed addition to the National Gallery as a “monstrous carbuncle”, added: “If plans to build more than 3 million new homes by 2020 go ahead, it will not just be one carbuncle, ladies and gentlemen, on the face of a much-loved old friend, but a positive rash of them that will disfigure precious views and disinherit future generations of Londoners.”

Leading architects have hit back at Charles’ claims. Ken Shuttleworth, lead designer of the iconic 30 St Mary Axe building, otherwise known as ‘The Gherkin’, said: “He’s wrong. London is not a museum. It has to be renewed for the next generation, especially as it attempts to become the world’s leading city. We can’t leave it as it is in medieval times.”