One of the consequences of being involved in the debate over the fate of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry is that I pay more attention to planning battles across London, of which there seem to be so many.
The most recent has been over the future of South Kensington Station. Whereas most of us probably regard South Kensington station as an attractively open gateway to the South Kensington museums – faintly rustic in character with flowerbeds on the platform, as if recalling the market gardens which were there before the museums and relatively unusual in being open to the skies (opened 1868) – Transport for London have long regarded it as being ripe for development where their air rights can be developed for maximum profit, regardless of the low-rise stucco housing round about populated by merchant bankers. Rogers Stirk Harbour came up with an ungainly set of plans leaving the tube arcade, but surrounding it with a circular gasometer tower block.
Unusually, Native Land has sensibly withdrawn its plans, presumably realising the strength of local feeling against the proposals. Who will it employ, one wonders, to draw up more sensitive proposals ?