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 English Heritage Propose New London Sightlines

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Adolescant Doomster
Adolescant Doomster

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PostSubject: English Heritage Propose New London Sightlines   English Heritage Propose New London Sightlines I_icon_minitimeSat Dec 04, 2010 6:19 am

English Heritage Propose New London Sightlines

In a bizarre move, English Heritage have called for a new area in London that is free from the future construction of tall buildings that they have dubbed "the sky gateway".

They are proposing a new protected view from Waterloo Bridge that will in effect draw a line from the tip of the Bishopsgate Tower to Canary Wharf in the distance and suggest that nothing should be built that exceeds this imaginary line.

Conveniently for English Heritage this takes 20 Fenchurch Street out if it were to be adopted by the planning authorities. They are due to challenge 20 Fenchurch Street at a public inquiry in the coming weeks as the latest round of their fight-back against tall buildings in London.

This proposal won't just take in 20 Fenchurch Street but also tall buildings on the South Bank such as the planned tower at Doon Street, Beetham's proposals for Blackfriars Road, and the heritage body's much loathed London Bridge Tower, as well as any future tall buildings between the City of London and Canary Wharf that pass the line.

Other victims will include planned towers at North Quay in Canary Wharf whilst the existing 20 Fenchurch Street also clearly passes over their height limit.

Looking through the database and counting up the gross development value of projects this will potentially affect, English Heritage are opposing over £5 billion pounds worth of new development in London and thousands of new and much needed homes.

The odd thing about the plans by English Heritage is that Waterloo Bridge is over 300 metres long raising the question of just which view point along the bridge will be protected.

Their intention may well be to stop the construction of tall buildings near the Tower of London with something that would have caught the cancelled Minerva Building but it also serves primarily as confirmation bias of their opposition to 20 Fenchurch Street and an attempt to construct an argument against the controversial development at the forthcoming public inquiry.

The plan is a catch-all in terms of skyscrapers. If it were to be accepted it would effectively stop construction of anything tall south of Bishopsgate and with view points to St Pauls to the north the cluster would be locked tightly in place with little scope for new development.

There is also an other issue at play here for English Heritage - they wish to maintain the visual separation of the key Canary Wharf and City of London clusters when viewed from areas to the north such as Parliament Hill. The views from these locations however have traditionally had the sightlines to St Paul's Cathedral and the House of Parliament kept unobscured.

This is a marked change in policy as they are moving away from trying to preserve sightlines to key to landmarks to shaping London in a much wider context than what has previously been accepted.

The end result could be also catching future tall buildings that will be nowhere near the Tower of London and located firmly in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, two of the poorest boroughs in London and help stifle future development of these areas all for the sake of maintaining two distinct clusters because some people think it looks good.

With the harmful effect of stifling so much development across large swathes of London, including some of the most neglected areas that have Labour MPs nervously looking at their majority at the next general election, it's a rationale that the government are unlikely to back.

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