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On the final day of the public inquiry into Mitsubishi Estates’ proposed redevelopment of the former London Television Centre (60-72 Upper Ground), community organisations told the Inspector that a once in a lifetime opportunity will be wasted and irreparable harm to London’s South Bank caused if planning permission is granted to what has been described in the national press as ´a brute of a building’ (Rowan Moore in The Observer), ´an aggressive behemoth’ (Sir Simon Jenkins in The Guardian), and ´a grotesque monstrosity’ (Richard Morrison in The Times). Locals are even less complimentary.
Mitsubishi’s development would destroy the special character of the South Bank, introducing a massive office development which would dominate riverside views, cast shadows over the riverside walkway and Bernie Spain Gardens, rob daylight from adjacent housing co-operatives, and adversely impact heritage assets like the National Theatre, St Paul’s, and local conservation areas.
Michael Ball, Save Our South Bank and Waterloo Community Development Group says: “What people want are buildings that reflect the history, character and identity of their community and that belong in their surroundings: here on the South Bank, not just anywhere. Michael Gove, the Secretary of State who will take the decision, has made it clear that developers need to design beautiful buildings that are supported by the communities that must live alongside them”.
David Hopkins, Director of Community at CSCB says: “Michael Gove has said that it is vital to build many more homes and, wherever possible, these should be built on brownfield sites. In some places communities are against new housing. Here on the South Bank, we want more. Yet this vast development of a brownfield site doesn’t offer a single home to address London’s severe housing shortage. We are confident that Michael Gove will see this as exactly the wrong sort of development for this sensitive South Bank site and will send Mitsubishi back to the drawing board”.
The Inspector’s report is expected to go to the Secretary of State in the Spring with a decision announced this Summer.