The surprise move ends a long-running saga of contradictory decisions on the fate of the planned tourist attraction which was backed by the City of London Corporation two years ago.
Gove dismissed an appeal lodged by developer Bury Street Properties against the mayor of London’s decision to refuse planning for the Foster-designed tower.
Nicknamed the Tulip because of its distinctive design, the 305m tall tower would have been the second-tallest skyscraper in western Europe.
A bud-like viewing platform with rotating pods, a restaurant and a sky bar were planned at its top. There was also to be an entire floor dedicated to education facilities during school hours.
The planning inspector’s report published on Thursday, determined the design would cause considerable harm to views of the Tower of London and various surrounding churches.
The inspector also argued that the extensive measures that would be taken to minimise carbon emissions during construction would not outweigh the highly unsustainable concept of using vast quantities of reinforced concrete for the foundations and lift shaft to transport visitors to as high a level as possible to enjoy a view.
The report states: “The Secretary of State has carefully considered the inspector’s assessment.
“He has concluded that the heritage balance is firmly against the proposal.
“Overall, the Secretary of State considers that the material considerations in this case indicate a decision in line with the development plan – i.e. a refusal of permission.”
The scheme’s backers now have six weeks to consider a challenge to the decison in the High Court.