You will be ex-ter-min-a-ted. That’s what Southwark Council and various pressure groups would like to say to the proposed Berkeley Homes development ‘twixt City Hall and Tower Bridge. But John ‘Girth’ Prescott has decided, as is his wont, to grant planning permission anyway. The move overturns Southwark’s previous decision to block the development, with one familiar flourish of the DPM’s greasy pen.
If we’re being honest, taken on their own the plans don’t look all that bad. The eight cylindrical stacks are not masterpieces, but they do have a character of sorts. Stick a window-cleaning boom atop each one and, hey presto, you have a Dalek invasion force. At least in our eyes, the scheme also fits in superbly with the neighbouring More London development and City Hall. It’s the proximity to Tower Bridge and the Tower itself that’s the main bone of contention. Were the development anywhere else, it would probably get through just fine, after the inevitable knee-jerk derision that always accompanies any new building.
Because of the significance of the area, Southwark council and the pressure groups argue that the currently vacant plot be developed into something more culturally appropriate. Says Councillor Nick Stanton:
We have been working with Berkeley Homes for some months to find a way of providing homes they wish to build, and in addition, delivering a major cultural attraction. I hope common sense will prevail and we will be able to come up with a joint plan that will make the best use of this prime London location.
This is no doubt going to rumble on and on, so in the meantime, something cultural is what we’re going to get. A temporary ice-rink that, bizarrely, resembles the space ship from 2001: A Space Odyssey, has been granted planning to land for the duration of Spring (same link, scroll to bottom). One way or another, it’s sci-fi look-alikes for the controversial site.