I was struck by the irony of Thomas Heatherwick’s praise for Covent Garden being a part of the city “that you want to go to even if you have no reason to” while in the next breath claiming that “London could take much taller buildings”, thereby implicitly advocating redevelopment.
If developers had had their way in the Seventies, Covent Garden would have been replaced with monolithic office towers. The fact that it survives today is because of a hard-fought campaign by locals.
We still have to be alert for those who wish to squeeze every last penny from the land regardless of the environment and wishes of residents. This is happening now on the borders of Covent Garden where there is a proposal to build a tower to rival the height of Centre Point. Again, campaigners are trying to encourage the developers to pay more attention to what actually makes an area vibrant and a place “that you want to go even if you have no reason to”.
You make a strong point about Covent Garden and the way in which local campaigners often prevent historic or otherwise appealing buildings being destroyed in the name of supposed progress. Too often they’re smeared as “nimbies” when they’re doing us a favour by fighting for the area they love. I agree too that we could do without more ugly tower blocks when mid-rise apartment buildings offer a more attractive alternative.
Martin Bentham, Home Affairs Editor
Green policy is a disappointment
Hearing Rebecca Pow and Zac Goldsmith proclaiming a wonderful environment policy but refusing to answer questions is disappointing. A coal mine is being built and gas licences are being granted like confetti, making the COP 1.5C target less achievable. Preaching to the world whilst the UK does the opposite is pathetic.