I haven't been paying attention to this one and I thought it had already been determined, but apparently not.
I have little love for the buildings they're proposing to replace, but I certainly don't think that this is a good application.
And while we're at it, this just in:
An absolutely astonishing application. The City's not exactly rich in sites where you could plonk a building like that, but as per two posts above, a different site should certainly be found.
To be clear, signing a change.org petition will make the sum total of sod all difference, but it's desperate times--the application has been approved and having Robert Jenrick, of all people, as the Secretary of State is about as hopeless as it gets.
It is one of the deepest absurdities of planning when the applicants and the determining authority are one and the same, and I think there should always automatically be a public inquiry or, preferably, some other mechanism for determination. In general, planning authorities approve their application in 99% of cases. I'm sure that's not the right figure, but it is a bit like that.
The building seems like simply the wrong use class for that part of Fleet Street, and too big--in our cities, we need to have smaller footprints, not larger ones. You only have to look at what's been happening to Soho as developers have unified footprints and put larger single buildings on them, whether disguised, as in Berwick Street, or not.
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry application that I've posted about before has been approved by the Secretary of State:
I don't think it's a very good application; the problem with sites like this is always that if the owners give up pursuing their trade there, the writing is on the wall, because another use will have to be found. Because this one is so unique and historic, you would really hope that someone would want to carry on the tradition there, but traditions aren't forever.
Because the front buildings, including the frontage to Whitechapel Road, are meant to be maintained, I don't think it's a terrible application, either, but I'm certainly not impressed with the use as a hotel. It's just boring business as usual.
I feel for the campaigners, who must be terribly disappointed, but I don't think they will have had a very strong case to start with.
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