SOS Save Our South Bank backs Gove’s move to block unattractive new developments

Bulldozer directly facing.

SOS Save Our South Bank action group welcomes the speech made earlier this week by Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Speaking at the Centre for Policy Studies on Monday, Michael Gove warned developers:

“If you attempt to bulldoze your way through opposition rather than taking people with you, you will create a backlash which will mean that you will not see the development that you want to see.”

“There are 5 basic factors that we need to recognise are entirely rational reasons for opposition to new development. The first is the quality of so much that is built…That is the reason communities say no: they do not want ugliness to be imposed on them. So, one of the things that we will be unveiling are a series of policies in order to ensure that we improve the quality – and in particular the aesthetic quality – of new development: beauty…We will use all the powers we have, including call-in powers, in order to make sure that developments that are not aesthetically of high quality don’t go ahead.”

The other 4 “entirely rational reasons for opposition to new development” were inadequate infrastructure, that democracy is seen to be overturned, the environment – including impacts on the climate, and sense of neighbourhood.

In September, then Secretary of State Greg Clark, called in an application to demolish ITV’s former studios and headquarters on London’s South Bank and replace them with “a brute of a building” (Rowan Moore in The Observer), “a grotesque monstrosity (Richard Morrison in The Times), and “an aggressive behemoth” (Simon Jenkins in The Guardian).

A public inquiry into the scheme starts on 6 December 2022 and the Inspector’s report will go to Michael Gove for decision in the new year.