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Old February 23rd, 2007, 04:45 AM   #1081
london lad
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EH shows its true colours- now they have the backing of Ruth Kelly & UNESCO they are making their oice heard. Hopefully they will lose & shut them up for good so they can get there tall building aversion out of the system.

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English Heritage slams Viñoly icon as ‘oppressive’
23 February 2007

By Ellen Bennett

The battle lines have been drawn for a fight over the future of the London’s skyline, with English Heritage ranged against Rafael Viñoly, Land Securities and the City in a landmark public inquiry.

English Heritage has condemned Viñoly’s walkie talkie scheme for the City of London as “oppressive and overwhelming” in evidence submitted to next month’s public inquiry.

The heritage body has taken an unexpectedly hard line over the scheme, which has been praised by Cabe as extraordinary and was given planning permission by the City last September.

Its stance has shocked observers because EH did not ask for the scheme to be taken to public inquiry, and so was not expected to object.

In its evidence, to be presented by former staffer Paul Drury, EH says: “The result [of Viñoly’s proposal] would be an oppressive and overwhelming form that would have an uncomfortable relationship with the surrounding historic streets, buildings and spaces.”

Crucially, it argues that the tower would affect views of the Tower of London World Heritage Site, 500m away. It adds that the impact would be exacerbated by the “disturbing, attention seeking form of the proposed building”.

20 Fenchurch Street complies with all the current building and planning policies from the Mayor, the City, Cabe, central government and EH itself. The public garden on the top of the building, to be accessed via a dedicated lift, has been described by a source close to Cabe as “extraordinary… offering the public unrivalled views of London and the World Heritage Site”.


But, in an unprecedented move thought to have been prompted by Unesco’s active interest in development near World Heritage Sites, communities secretary Ruth Kelly called in the scheme late last year. It has come to inquiry in a matter of months — which is again very unusual, and suggests that she would like to make the decision herself before the Cabinet reshuffle expected in July.
“What’s baffling about this is that no one referred the case, and we are not aware of any other major development that has had a call-in without a referral,” said Land Sec’s London managing director Mike Hussey.

He declined to comment further before the public inquiry, but did speculate that Unesco’s apparent campaign against tall buildings had influenced Kelly and EH. The international body last year warned both London and Liverpool that they could be stripped of world heritage site status if development threatened key views (News February 9).

A Cabe source praised the design as “extraordinary”, and suggested it would contribute more to its surroundings than some other schemes built in the past few years such as Foster’s 30 St Mary Axe and Ian Simpson’s Beetham Tower in Manchester.

“The strength of the architectural experience of the City stems from the excitement of dramatic contrasts and changes of scale. This extraordinary design would enhance a vibrant world city, driven by a dynamic, thriving commercial economy,” said the source.

EH is increasingly concerned about the plethora of proposed towers and is understood to want to win a high-profile case in order to make its point.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 06:37 AM   #1082
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And another article from BD-online. This one is from comments

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Picking your battles is an art
23 February 2007

English Heritage finds itself in a difficult position. Its chief architect has just resigned, citing loss of expertise and morale, its funding is being progressively cut, and it is struggling to attract heavyweight applicants for the job of chair.

It will face a rather different kind of fight next month when it opposes Rafael Viñoly’s “walkie-talkie” office tower at Fenchurch Street for Land Securities at public inquiry.

On paper at least, its evidence looks unconvincing. Describing Viñoly’s proposed tower as “oppressive and overwhelming”, English Heritage risks ignoring the more solid planning reasons for it — the building complies with all current construction and planning policies issued by the mayor, the City of London, Cabe, central government and even English Heritage itself, while the design has been described as “remarkable”.

Forced into opposing the Viñoly design rather than feeling in its heart of hearts that it has a real case to make, on top of all this there’s the notion that it is now Unesco, and not English Heritage, that is making all the running.

One can speculate whether it is simply coincidence that communities and local government secretary Ruth Kelly called in the Viñoly scheme just as Unesco was working up a head of steam over the flurry of new applications around the tower, but it is worth remembering that English Heritage did not request a call-in.

Of course politicians have views and should listen to different opinions, and Kelly couldn’t be more different to her predecessor, John Prescott. But what is worrying is that she takes more notice of Unesco, a non-statutory, unelected organisation, than she does of the agency paid to advise her.

It would be shocking if English Heritage won this inquiry, yet it does have some battles it wants to win — Ian Simpson’s tower in Blackfriars is one, and KPF’s scheme in Victoria may be another — but by having to contest Fenchurch Street, the government seems determined to make its own advisers look inept.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 10:24 AM   #1083
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EH do it again, theres no suprise in what they are saying. They're just losing credibility because less and less people in the positions that matter are listening to them
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 12:26 PM   #1084
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If Ruth Kelly called it in against all the bodies saying it is okay it's obvious she doesn't want it built. If she has the last say then it won't be built.

Why go to all the bother of calling it in if you might change your mind? Just as in Liverpool she'll stop this one.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 01:13 PM   #1085
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“disturbing, attention seeking form of the proposed building”

that made me laugh! Pictured a fox-hunting Tory horrified by a transvestite stood on one leg, in vibrant pink stockings and a feather hat.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 01:17 PM   #1086
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Again the illogical arguements creep in, even if you dislike the design how can someone be taken seriously with comments like this:

Crucially, it argues that the tower would affect views of the Tower of London World Heritage Site, 500m away

perhaps they should tow HMS Belfast away or chop down the trees, that would actually give everyone a better view from this end of the vista
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 01:31 PM   #1087
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The worrying thing is Ruthy seems to have her agenda , so it appears, get the PI over with, Stuff the outcome or recommendations as she just wants to reject it before she's shuffled elsewhere.

Surely a public inquiry should be left to the experts & not a politician with an agenda. Im not sure how a PI works exactly & how a decision is made. They are very expensive & seem to go on a fair while, you have experts on both sides then a planning inspector gives a recommendation/verdict. Is this the case???

How then can a minister give a verdict that goes against everything that is said & recommended as was the case with the Brunswick quay case in which Kelly ignored all the advice & came to her own conclusion about world heritage sites & spoilt views. Is there recourse to appeal a PI or once a verdict is given then that's it.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 01:49 PM   #1088
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However, I'm sure that legally during a PI you can't have your own agenda.

If Ruth Kelly does refuse this without giving any specific reasons, the developers would have a very strong case to appeal against that decision.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 02:04 PM   #1089
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yes it is still a legal process but with a final say lol

I wonder if she is due a seat at the UN or something?!
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 02:31 PM   #1090
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Remember that Prescott overruled the planning inspector at the end of the P.I into St George's Wharf. To my knowledge Lambeth didn't lodge an appeal.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 02:39 PM   #1091
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Which views are they claiming it will affect?
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 02:41 PM   #1092
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they arent. thats the thing. english heritage will be torn to shreds in the P.I, imagine what happens when land sec's lawyer asks them why they oppose it now but didnt then etc. their case has so many logical holes in it a 5 year old could shoot it down, it will be an amusing transcript though. E.H only have themselves to blame, if they hadnt squandered an 8 figure sum on trying to stop heron and lbt they wouldnt be in the hole they are today.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 02:53 PM   #1093
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Goth - Even though EH will be torn to shreds what can Land Secs do if Ruth Kelly overides all the advice & still rejects it????
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 02:57 PM   #1094
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Nothing.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 03:01 PM   #1095
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yeah they are basically ****ed if she does that, though they can always go to the european court or house of lords. they have the money to chase this.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 03:02 PM   #1096
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I hope they (EH) will take on the battles that even the casual obsever would want them too! things like protecting buildings that ' are in danger' not not those that are far from being in danger. Jesus! taking on a whole city skyline is beyond even an International Organsiation as we are seeing, so what chance have they got...the road to ruin. Still...I hate this building!
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 03:24 PM   #1097
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For Me It's not about getting this tower built its about showing developers that you can beat the stupid people in the world and get a genuinely great tower built. In this case IMO the beautiful bit is not true, but i'd love to see EH get taken to the cleaners - again
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 03:32 PM   #1098
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gothicform View Post
they arent. thats the thing. english heritage will be torn to shreds in the P.I, imagine what happens when land sec's lawyer asks them why they oppose it now but didnt then etc. their case has so many logical holes in it a 5 year old could shoot it down, it will be an amusing transcript though. E.H only have themselves to blame, if they hadnt squandered an 8 figure sum on trying to stop heron and lbt they wouldnt be in the hole they are today.
There must be a view that's affected or they wouldn't be going so nuts over this tower.

Wouldn't it appear above the ToL when your standing at the north end of Tower Bridge?
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 03:40 PM   #1099
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Nah, it is the view from the Tower of London.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 04:01 PM   #1100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jef View Post
Nah, it is the view from the Tower of London.
If they are saying that it blocks/interferes with the view from the Tower of London of St Pauls then they have a vaild argument because it obviously will be more intrusive than the current tower. And the top heavy design doesn't help matters.
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