ES Views: Take a stand against the towers ruining our skyline

Westminster City Council want taller buildings in the borough: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

I congratulate Simon Jenkins for his stand against the relentless barrage of ugly and badly planned skyscrapers constantly being unveiled to blight our city [“Westminster council’s pro-tower policy is a disaster for our city”, Comment, March 28].

There is a preposterous and misguided idea that such edifices are necessary for London to maintain its status as a “world-class city”, one of the most awful and desperate phrases ever devised, and that other cities look at us with favour and with admiration because of our modern skyline. The people who peddle this myth must be disabused.

London has a uniquely rich, beautiful and distinctive architectural heritage that is slowly being eroded and replaced by ever more banal and, at best, odd buildings.

Enough is enough. London should listen to Mr Jenkins.
Daniel Benson

Westminster City Council has bad form on proposed towers in the capital but don’t forget the ones it has already permitted to be built as well.

You only have to look at the blighted skyline across Paddington around the Marylebone flyover. Here we have four towers — Burne House, Capital House, the Metropole Hotel and Paddington Green Police Station — which speak volumes for how the council has let developers get away with grim buildings.

Would anyone trust the planners again with tower proposals after such monstrous ones go up?
Murad Qureshi

Once again, Simon Jenkins is spot on about Westminster’s decision to grant consent for the Paddington Cube, which is totally devoid of architectural merit and inappropriate to the conservation area.

What is even more concerning is Cllr Daniel Astaire’s statement about possibly allowing higher buildings around Hyde Park, which would establish a disastrous precedent for sites such as Knightsbridge Barracks.
Andrew Hamilton

Contrary to what Simon Jenkins writes, Westminster City Council has never purported to have a “pro-tower policy” nor plans to “ride roughshod over conservation areas”.

The present consultation is designed to elicit views, not to predetermine them. Furthermore, we have a commitment to protect the World Heritage Site around the Palace of Westminster, as well as the designated conservation areas.

However, we cannot ignore London’s growth, and with 36,000 additional people expected to move in to Westminster in the next 20 years, we must ensure the best possible outcome for residents, workers and visitors alike.
Cllr Daniel Astaire, Westminster City Council


We must protect our EU citizens

After Article 50 was triggered yesterday, 3.3 million EU citizens in the UK and up to 1.6 million UK citizens living in Europe will be turned into bargaining chips. But this need not be the case.

People who came here under freedom of movement were denied a vote in the EU referendum and are now being held in limbo worrying about their futures. The Government must end this now. Britain didn’t vote to treat migrants as second-class citizens, yet migrants’ voices are not being heard. This must change through the agency of the EU citizens and migrants’ rights organisations themselves.

This is why we — a coalition of rights-based organisations — are calling on the Government to immediately and unconditionally secure the rights of EU migrants, their families and dependents.

If we fail to support EU citizens in the fight to defend their rights, we will fail to protect the rights upon which our futures depend as well.
Nazek Ramadan, director, Migrant Voice
Migrants Rights Network
Migrants Organise
New Europeans
​Runnymede Trust
ILPA
Refugee Action
Detention Action
Race on the Agenda
Hope not Hate
City of Sanctuary
Amnesty UK
New Economics Foundation
Right to Remain
Refugee Women’s Association


Freedom for all religious minorities

I wish to thank the Evening Standard for its coverage of the Westminster killings, which I believe has been balanced in regard to the facts and has also highlighted the remarkable forgiveness offered by so many of the bereaved.

I welcome the condolences and concerns about all barbaric acts committed in the name of Islam, offered by the scholars, imams, academics and researchers of the Muslim faith. At the same time, I wish to challenge the statement that “Islamic history is a testament to co-existence, which all the communities living under its canopy enjoyed until this present day” [Letters, March 28.]

Sadly, this is not the case for Christians, Jews and other vulnerable minorities living in many Muslim majority countries in the Middle East and elsewhere. While I am thankful to live in a country of great freedoms, I cannot turn a blind eye to the lack of these freedoms in other parts of the world.
Jeremy Thompson

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More people need to cycle in the city

Your correspondent David Reed [Letters, March 28] laments the “destruction” of the hazardous Swiss Cottage gyratory and says no more than 10 per cent of Londoners will cycle for most of their trips.

They certainly won’t cycle if gyratories like Swiss Cottage, Old Street and Elephant and Castle are there to deter them. But if gyratories are removed and safer cycling facilities are installed across the capital, then there is no reason why the rest of London can’t match Hackney, where 15 per cent of people commute by bike or Cambridge, where a quarter of all journeys are made by cycling.

Transport for London data shows that one in eight Londoners already cycle once a week or more and that two thirds of car trips made by Londoners could be cycled in under 20 minutes. If even five per cent of London trips were made by bike, as targeted by the Mayor’s London Plan, the whole city would benefit from reduced pollution, less congestion and better health.

Every person who walks or cycles for 20 minutes a day reduces their risk of type 2 diabetes by 35-50 per cent and coronary heart disease by 20-35 per cent. Not only is this good for us, it’s good for London.
​Fran Graham, campaigns coordinator, London Cycling Campaign

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Eden Hazard is an irreplaceable player

If Chelsea are considering selling Eden Hazard, they should remind themselves of what happened when Manchester United let Cristiano Ronaldo join Real Madrid in 2009.

While £80 million was a huge amount of money, Ronaldo has scored 390 goals in 382 games since then. The fee doesn’t seem so hefty now.

Hazard’s importance to Chelsea is indisputable. He creates the most chances in the team and behind Diego Costa, is the club’s top scorer. If Real Madrid come calling with a £100 million bid, Chelsea should knock it back. The manager and fans know he is irreplaceable.
Jack Clark

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