Sadly, but entirely predictably, Tower Hamlets has voted in favour of putting a large shopping mall into a deserted car park half way up Brick Lane without regard for its impact on the character of the area. One sees the relentlessness of the process of gentrification: artists discover an area; urban pioneers move in; then the big brands begin to take over, eating away and progressively destroying the character of an area, while developers cream off the profits; small businesses are driven out and it becomes soulless like the Kings Road and Covent Garden. The decisions lie with the members of the Tower Hamlets planning committee who, as they say, are simply applying the rules. It seems odd that the character of this part of London and its future should depend on such a small group and if they are just applying the rules, then surely the rules should change. But then one remembers that developers are the biggest donors to the conservative party, so you realise that the system has been effectively stitched up. Sad, but true.