Plans by MAKE architects for Mitsubishi Estate to redevelop the ITV site on the South Bank were approved by Lambeth councillors in March this year.
In May the then levelling up secretary Michael Gove intervened and placed a moratorium on the issuing of the final planning permission.
This week his successor Greg Clark – in what is likely to be one of his final acts in the job – decided to 'call in' the application and order an inquiry.
A planning inspector will preside at an inquiry – likely to last several days – which will look into several matters including "the extent to which the proposed development (including its scale and massing) is consistent with the Government policies for conserving and enhancing the historic environment, in respect of designated heritage assets".
The final decision is now likely to rest with a new levelling up secretary to be appointed by the next prime minister.
Mr Clark's decision comes days after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan formally decided against intervening in Lambeth's decision.
News of the inquiry has been welcomed by local campaigners.
Local resident and SOS Save Our South Bank Action Group co-chair Hannah Quigley said: "We welcome the local inquiry and will fully participate in the process to find a more suitable proposal for this important heritage location. The South Bank deserves better for its neighbouring residents and millions of visitors to the area alike".
Michael Ball of the Waterloo Community Development Group added: "Mitsubishi's plans are unsustainable, overbearing, and just plain ugly. This decision by the Secretary of State is an acknowledgement that neither Lambeth Council nor the Mayor of London properly scrutinised the impact on listed national buildings, on some of the capital's greatest views, or on the climate emergency. Thanks to Greg Clark, these plans will be suitably examined at last."
David Hopkins of Coin Street Community Builders said: "We are relieved the Secretary of State's decision now means these overbearing office proposals will receive the scrutiny they deserve. We've raised serious concerns about the harm this development would cause in wiping out daylight to neighbouring social housing and casting the riverside into shadow.
"The National Theatre, Historic England and the Twentieth Century Society have rightly pointed out the damage 'The Slab' would do to the views along the South Bank. Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi has questioned whether more offices on this site are more important than housing, which does not feature at all.
"We thank Greg Clark MP for listening to more than 4,680 people who have called for a public inquiry, underlining what a special place the South Bank has in the hearts of this nation."
Developers Mitsubishi Estate London and CO-RE said in a joint statement: "Mitsubishi Estate London and CO-RE are fully committed to delivering this crucial new building for the South Bank, which has the support of local young creative groups, planning officers, Lambeth Councillors and the Greater London Assembly. We are obviously very disappointed that the start of construction will be delayed with the creation of thousands of jobs postponed.
"The current site is a dormant closed-off tower right in the heart of an otherwise thriving part of the South Bank. It deserves better. We look forward to demonstrating to the planning inspector how our policy-compliant proposals will not just respect the local heritage of the South Bank but enhance and transform the site into an open and welcoming building that prioritises high-quality workspace and the provision of new arts, cultural and green public spaces."
"72 Upper Ground will bring investment, over 4,000 new jobs, and new workspace to one of London's most famous destinations. Crucially, it will benefit the local community through the London Studios, which will provide 40,000 sq ft net of affordable space that is tailored to the needs of Lambeth's emerging creative industries. This includes new cultural venues that have rehearsal space, gallery and presentation spaces and sound proofed studios, alongside new riverside cafes and restaurants."