Tag Archives: Architecture

Inside the planning committee: it’s not enough to say it’s all fair and impartial. You have to show it is, too

What goes on at Town hall planning committees these days? In theory it works like this. A committee of about a dozen councillors, politically balanced to match the composition of the council as a whole, assesses planning applications based on … Continue reading

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My old snapshot from 1991 shows how the London skyline has changed utterly – and how it has stayed the same

Sorting through some old photos in my cellar a few months ago I came across a snapshot of the London skyline I took, as a callow 17-year-old, in the autumn of 1991. Out of curiosity, in late 2014 I went back … Continue reading

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Greenwich Peninsula: how a council own-goal took the heat off greedy developers, and the Tories who let them get away with it

Hats off to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism for its new exposé of what’s been going on at the Greenwich Peninsula: a billionaire developer reducing levels of affordable housing from 35% to just 21%, and the local council’s attempts to … Continue reading

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A storm in a teacup: the Guardian misses the point about Charles’ black spider memos

Dear Minister, Thank you so much for joining me at the inaugural symposium of my Global Bear Preservation Initiative at Clarence House recently. I know that I will be lampooned by so-called “modernisers” as a inexcusable old stick-in-the mud, but … Continue reading

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Far from being “dismal”, Euston’s Concourse is one of the best public spaces in London. Let’s hope HS2 doesn’t wreck it

A curious bidding war has been going on in London in the last few years: who can say the rudest thing about Euston Station. Last year, when it emerged that Euston’s 1960s building might be remodelled rather than demolished, Building … Continue reading

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A Garden Bridge? No thank you, Joanna Lumley: London is ‘Bosky’ enough already

What’s not to like about the proposed Garden Bridge across the Thames? It’s designed by Thomas Heatherwick, a walk-on-water design superstar who came up with the Olympic Cauldron as well as the new Routemaster bus. It would, we are told, … Continue reading

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Labour can take pride in its school rebuilding programme. Even if this one was finished nine years behind schedule  

Last Monday (November 3rd) I was at the grand opening of the John Roan School in Blackheath (the school lies in the ward I represented as a councillor until May 2014, and I used to be a governor there). Despite the big … Continue reading

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What happens when politicians and developers meet behind closed doors – and why Unite’s wrong to call the meetings off

What happens when politicians and property developers meet behind closed doors? According to Vince Passfield, Unite’s deputy regional secretary for London, multi-national investors seek to “stitch up deals that would  hit council tenants and leaseholders in the capital”. As a result Unite … Continue reading

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The approval of Mount Pleasant’s “affordable” flats at £2,800 a month shows the rot of our planning system

Mount Pleasant matters. Formerly a prison, it’s one of the few large, undeveloped brownfield sites left in central London. Few object to redeveloping the unpleasant wasteland behind the Royal Mail’s sorting office, where Second World War bomb sites are still … Continue reading

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The new University faculty is the best thing built in Greenwich for decades. Critics should be careful what they wish for

There’s a paradox about development in Greenwich (the town, not the borough) in the last 15 years. Schemes that commanded near-universal support when they were first proposed (the glass bubble around the Cutty Sark, which makes it look like its … Continue reading

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