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it's not 'awful' but I can see Richard Rogers and Alsops view on this


from the BD


Architects’ letter to the Times complains of ‘hasty’ planning process

Richard Rogers and Will Alsop have criticised Assael Architecture’s plans to redevelop a west London arts centre, claiming there has been insufficient consultation.

The architects are among a string of cultural luminaries who have written a letter in today’s Times ahead of a crunch planning meeting tonight.

Assael’s proposal for Riverside Studios beside the Thames and the grade II* listed Hammersmith Bridge were drawn up for the client Mount Anvil and A2 Dominion.

The scheme would see 165 flats built on the site in a seven-storey building fronting the river, plus new TV studios and an arts centre.

Riverside’s chiefs claim it is the only way of paying for a necessary upgrade to their 1950s facilities. But local residents object to the height of the scheme and the way it turns its back on what is currently a lively street, Crisp Road.

Rogers’ office is a few hundred yards from Riverside while Alsop is based further downstream at Battersea.

Their letter, whose other signatories include actress Francesca Annis, artist Peter Blake and playwright and director Stephen Poliakoff, says: “At a hastily organised planning meeting tonight in Hammersmith the fate will be decided of one of London’s most important arts centres: Riverside Studios.

“More than 30 years ago Riverside Studios was set up on public land with public funding as a multidisciplinary arts centre for the benefit of local people and Londoners. It has experienced the funding difficulties shared across the arts, and its future now rests on the solution being decided on this evening: a proposed development of luxury housing and TV studios, with minimal and as yet unspecified arts facilities.

“We believe that there has been insufficient consultation for such an important site, next to the grade II [sic] listed Hammersmith Bridge, and on this rare riverside location, in a development in which arts facilities look likely to play a secondary role to privately run TV studios.

“As people who care about the history and future of Riverside Studios, we urge Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Riverside Trust to allow an extension of the consultation period to enable a more informed and constructive discussion about the future of this important arts centre.”

Michael Anderson, secretary of Crisp Road Residents’ Association, has asked the Charity Commission to investigate the proposals.

He said: “It is a scandal that these ill-thought-through plans, which turn a local arts centre into luxury flats and TV studios, are to be rushed through at a hastily organised planning committee right before Christmas when even members of the committee have already left for their holidays.”

Assael and the developers were not available to comment.
 

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