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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 June 2006, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Colliers Wood Tower 'most hated'
The Colliers Wood tower
The Colliers Wood tower - voted London's ugliest building
A 19-storey concrete office block which towers over neighbouring Victorian terraces has been voted London's most hated building.

Colliers Wood Tower in south-west London took 52% of 512 email votes sent to BBC London.

The Tower Hotel, on the Thames north bank, was second with 23%, followed by the South bank arts complex on 11%.

The Gherkin, or Swiss Re building, was fourth with 8%, although many expressed surprise it was on the shortlist.

BBC London started running the poll shortly after demolition work began on another London eyesore - the County Hall Island Block near Waterloo Station - on 25 May.

It looks like it survived a nuclear holocaust
Rebecca Moses

The Colliers Wood Tower, a huge black concrete, glass and steel edifice which is largely unused, is no stranger to "most hated" polls.

Last year it came ninth in a national search for nominations for buildings to be razed for the Channel 4 programme Demolition.

Locals have previously voted it the "worst thing about living in Colliers Wood" and it is so imposing, it is said to have strange effects on the weather around it.

One voter, Alan O'Brien, told BBC London: "Apart from its general ugliness, it also creates huge, hurricane-type winds that make the area an umbrella graveyard."

The Tower Hotel
The Tower Hotel came second in the poll

Another, Rebecca Moses, said: "It looks like it survived a nuclear holocaust", while Christine from Mitcham, south-west London, said she despaired every time she passed it.

Respondents also hated the concrete multi-storey car park which sits next to the tower.

Matt Bell, from the Commission for Architecture, said it was not just the tower's appearance that was a problem - but its effect on the "streetscape".

"This should be the centre of the neighbourhood, but you can tell when they were designing it they were thinking of vehicles first, and people last," he told BBC London.

While many people called for its demolition, the tower's position, above a Tube line, makes it difficult and expensive.

Instead there are plans to knock down the car park and replace it with a new development which will include a library, as well as brightening up the tower itself which will be partly turned into flats.

Merton Council is expecting a planning application within weeks.

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