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 20 Fenchurch Street Public Inquiry Continues

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LeeRain
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Adolescant Doomster


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Join date : 2010-09-14

PostSubject: 20 Fenchurch Street Public Inquiry Continues   Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:21 am

20 Fenchurch Street Public Inquiry Continues

The public inquiry into 20 Fenchurch Street has been continuing.

Usually inquiries are drawn out affairs with lawyers arguing for months and hundreds of submissions and testimonies considered before those hearing the evidence retire to make their choice.

This one though has been rushed through by Communities Minister, Ruth Kelly, who wants to decide for herself about the scheme before she inevitably gets reshuffled somewhere else in the aftermath of the council election wipe-out New Labour face.

Amongst the highlights of the inquiry so far have been submissions by some of the leading architects in the world including Norman Foster and Richard Rogers backing the scheme and praising various aspects of it.

Another was the attack by English Heritage lawyer, Robert McCracken QC, on the lack of affordable housing within the scheme. Given it's an office building centred in the most singularly office district of London and surrounded by similar projects that have also had little by the way of residential it's hardly surprising this aspect was neglected by the developer and planners.

The direction of the attack concentrated on the Section 106 agreement that specifies the planning gain the local council, the Corporation of London, receives in return for the building being built in order to compensate them for any harm done. With 20 Fenchurch Street the bulk of this money was earmarked for things other than residential as would be expected due to the location.

Power consumption of the building was also singled out by McCracken who claimed it wasn't green enough due to the electricity use. In comparison with a normal average office building however which also has gas installed it comes out favourably. Energy consumption averages are drawn from combining gas and electricity so in removing one you can easily change the appearance to make something seem worse than it is.

There were also claims that the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone is "in two minds" about 20 Fenchurch Street although these were not backed up by evidence and denied on the stand by DP9s Alan Simmons.

Planning inspector, Ken Barton, will be sending his report to Ruth Kelly once he's looked through everything and a decision is expected sooner than later in this case. Many fear, that as with Brunswick Quay in Liverpool Kelly will go her own way and do what she wants regardless of what the report says, something that is allowed in a planning system where the democratically elected representatives rule supreme for better or worse.

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