Drivers ‘blinded’ by £35million ‘giant mirror’ after winter sun reflects off hotel

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Drivers and residents have claimed the low winter sun reflects off Hotel La Tour in Milton Keynes and “acts like a giant mirror” – dazzling anyone driving or walking towards it

The low winter sun reflects off the building's steel and dazzles drivers, it is claimed
The low winter sun reflects off the building’s steel and dazzles drivers, it is claimed

Drivers claim they are being blinded by a £35million “giant mirror” with motorists and residents saying the polished steel front of a new hotel is leaving them dazzled.

The futuristic 14-storey, 261-room Hotel La Tour has recently been built in Milton Keynes, Bucks, and has a striking shiny facade.

But residents have complained the low winter sun reflects off the steel and “acts like a giant mirror” dazzling anyone driving or walking towards it.

Some are now suggesting that the building’s owner installs anti-glare measures to curb the dazzle.

They have likened the building to London’s “Walkie-Talkie” skyscraper – the Fenchurch Building – which was fitted with a giant sunshade after a similar problem emerged.


The futuristic 14-storey and 261-room Hotel La Tour

HP Architects, which designed the building, said it would consider complaints

Amanda Owen, from Milton Keynes, wrote on social media: “Anybody else being blinded by the new hotel in the mornings, between Neath Hill and Linford Wood?

“Don’t think the architects took into consideration the potential effects that a giant mirror could have a mile away.”

She noticed it when the winter sun was low. Amanda said: “It just means you have an extra glare to deal with.

“Putting your sun visor down doesn’t help.”

Nesta Brice added: “Accident waiting to happen.”

A spokesman from PHP Architects who designed the building said it would consider the complaints.

He said: “After an extensive planning process, as well as public consultations and workshops, the exterior was developed to incorporate a polished stainless-steel facade to reference other iconic Milton Keynes buildings such as The Point, Centre:MK shopping mall and Milton Keynes Central Station, as well as features seen in Campbell Park.”

He stressed the building differed to 20 Fenchurch Street, which had a concaved glazed facade that concentrated focused sunlight into a smaller area.

Milton Keynes where the new hotel has been built
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Image:

Getty Images)

He added: “Hotel La Tour’s facade is not designed in this way and in contrast has a vertical facade with flat cladding panels.

“However, we always consider all local feedback and will be looking into the comments further”.

When Milton Keynes was first designated as a new town in January 1967, planning guidance initially stated no building was allowed to be taller than the tallest tree.

But this was later changed by what was then the Milton Keynes Partnership which decided the town needed “landmark buildings” and elevated the allowed height.

The Mirror has contacted PHP Architects for further comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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