An article which criticised the rash of high rise blocks planned for erection near and along our part of the river appeared in Friday’s Evening Standard to add to others that are slowly rising to the surface. Hard to believe that it’s taken so long for the penny to drop. We’ve been highlighting ‘hideousplanned and actual Vauxhall developments on this blog for some time (and a few, rare, better thought-out ones) despite our short life, and despite comments appearing from defenders (aka employees) of these high-rise monstrosities. Anyway, it’s too late. Lambeth, Wandsworth, Boris, and Ken before him all thought it was a good way to fill their coffers. Shame on them for selling their our heritage and leaving the consequential mess for generations to come. There’s nothing wrong with regenerating our area, it’s to be welcomed, but a degree of central planning and co-ordination to ensure a cohesive overall result wouldn’t have been too much to expect, rather than the Klondike land-grab we’ve witnessed over the last five years. I pointed this out at a public meeting led by Labour Leader Lib Peck at the beginning of the year. I was treated as if I’d just farted passed wind in a lift. Chickens;home;roost.

 

vauxhall

“Offensive heaps”: a proposed series of residential towers in Vauxhall

WILL HURST AND RICHARD WAITE
Published: 11 April 2014 Updated: 15:02, 11 April 2014
London is being “trashed” by a series of eyesore high-rise towers which are disfiguring its skyline, a planning expert has claimed.

In the most significant intervention in the Skyline campaign to improve the design and planning of the capital’s tall buildings, former City of London planning officer Peter Rees warned of a “wave” of poorly designed residential towers built for maximum profit.

Mr Rees, who spent 29 years shaping the City’s skyline, left the post this month to become professor of places and city planning at University College London’s Bartlett faculty.

Adding his name to the list of eminent figures supporting the campaign by the Architects’ Journal, Rees said there was no comparison between the office skyscrapers created by architects under his watch, which include the Gherkin and the Cheesegrater, and the towers being drawn up today

He said: “The clusters of office towers in the City and at Canary Wharf represent the ‘best in class’ against global competition. On the other hand, the inferior designs of the wave of residential ‘investment’ towers which is disfiguring the London skyline should engender a deep sense of shame in those who created and approved them. From Vauxhall to Whitechapel, the cranes are raising the dumbed-down ‘product’ into offensive heaps.”

Rees claimed that planning authorities were “trapped” by ill-founded housing targets and a desperate need to secure payments to balance their budgets. He called on them to look instead to the best examples of high-density and mid-rise housing.

He said: “Residential towers do not achieve high densities and leave unusable space on the sites which they do not fill. Those of us who feel passionate about the form and future of our amazing city are sad to see it being trashed.”

Fashion designer Paul Smith, engineer Hanif Kara and architect Hugh Broughton are among those who have signed up to the Skyline campaign, which last week prompted a 950-word column in the Evening Standard by Mayor Boris Johnson, in which he acknowledged that 80 per cent of new tall buildings were residential, but defended the performance of the planning system.

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