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Quite a scathing attack on the Vauxhall tower in the Times- Then again it is by Simon Jenkins & hes never been a big fan of skyscrapers- I dont think he actually realiases some people wuite like them & would like to live in tall buildiings. He might have a point of plonking skyscrapers anywhere in London but i'm sure you just cant put them anywhere (Im sure if the vauxhall tower was proposed for say Soho or covent garden it wouldn't get anywhere. O.K Prescott did overrole a planning inspector for Vauxhall tower but it will be in a cluster, if everything we are lead to believe is in the pipeline for Vauxhall will happen. Anyway he seems to have forgotten that theres a bloody great big tower almost next door to the tate anyway (westminster tower or whatever its called).

Anyway judge for yourselves in the article.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1059-1576936,00.html

A tower block and a wind farm: two hideous monuments to Blairism
Simon Jenkins
John Prescott is like a Hull tycoon depositing his industrial dirt on the workers’ gardens


IF TONY BLAIR wins on May 5 he will have one goal in mind: history. As the last voter vanishes from his rear-view mirror, grim-visaged history will loom over the road ahead. He can boast to voters, but before history he must cringe. It is the grim reaper from whom there is no escape.
I comb Mr Blair’s utterances at present and find no awareness of this. The election is percentage politics, shorter waiting lists, more policemen, fewer thefts. Today’s spat is tomorrow’s lost statistic. History prefers things that last. It remembers great works of political architecture, Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation, Helmut Kohl’s reunited Germany. It honours Sixtus V for rebuilding Rome, Eisenhower for the American freeways, Mitterrand for his “grands projets”.



I believe that Blair’s Britain will be remembered not just for Iraq, but also for how successfully it guarded the nation’s fragile environment from its post-industrial prosperity. Did it treat wealth as having an obligation to public aesthetics? Or did it believe that private affluence was inseparable from public squalour, and that anyway beauty is a matter of opinion?

In such a spirit have historians deplored the urban sprawl of the 1930s and the high-rise errors of the 1960s and 70s. Britain may have been rich, they said, but what a mess it made with the riches. So much money wasted on so much ugliness.

This lasting legacy of Blair’s Britain came vividly to mind this week in two policies, ignored on the hustings, that will transform the future appearance of Britain. One is John Prescott’s astonishing decision on Monday to overrule his inspector and permit a single 50-storey tower of flats, virtually the height of Canary Wharf, on the bank of the Thames opposite the Tate Gallery. The other is the inquiry which opened yesterday into a five-mile corridor of 27 turbines , 400ft high, at Whinash, high on the edge of the Lake District in Cumbria.

Both decisions change policy and with have a devastating impact. Both are in every sense totemic. At Vauxhall Mr Prescott has torn up any remaining skyline control in London simply, it seems, because a developer asked. A public bribe comes in the form of some cheap flats, to be awarded for life to a few incredibly lucky “key workers”. Such flats never stay cheap for long. This is no more than a gigantic property development.

It would be futile to ask how Mr Prescott’s decision fits into an overall vision of London’s appearance. He cannot have one. These towers are now being proposed wherever an architect can sweet-talk the mayor and Mr Prescott into giving him a permit. The zoning of high buildings in London is a complete shambles, contrasting with the clear rules observed in Paris, Rome, Barcelona, even New York (where high buildings are clustered).

Central government has been the worst offender. It broke zoning with hospitals, offices and barracks round London parks. John Gummer sought to make the Thames a canyon, with high rises west of Chelsea. But until now very high buildings (VHBs) have been confined to east of the City.

By allowing a 60-storey skyscraper behind London Bridge and now the Vauxhall tower Mr Prescott cannot refuse VHB applications across the whole of Central London. The effect will be to litter the capital with isolated blocks wherever a site is vacant, like the one still deplored by Parisians at Montparnasse. None of the towers has any civic significance and their scale and servicing invariably blights their neighbourhoods. They are not a “matter of opinion”. They are one person’s opinion (and profit) dominating everyone else’s. Unlike low-rise development, which can achieve similar densities, these massive structures are visual dictatorship.

Similar totems to Labour’s love affair with macho capitalism are sprouting in city centres across Britain, in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. They are not needed, there being land aplenty in these city centres. The movement is like the high-rise enthusiasm in the 1970s, a yearning by architects and politicians simply to show off. In modern Britain you can sue the authorities if a paving stone is out of line by one inch, but you can do nothing if a building is out of line by 50 storeys.

Mr Blair’s legacy to rural Britain is no less totemic. His banning of hunting will forever be a black-letter day in most country calendars, but is at least reversible. In its place the uplands of Britain are being industrialised. Already some 1,200 wind turbines are up and running. Patricia Hewitt, the Energy Minister, wants 6,000 more, which should make them visible in all the wildest and most unspoilt parts of the country. By subsidising the market rate for electricity to the extent of 300 per cent and offering £1 billion in other subsidies, Ms Hewitt has invited a Klondike goldrush from American, Japanese and European entrepreneurs. The Whinash scheme in Cumbria is subsidised desecration.

Few Britons, especially those who holiday abroad, will have any idea just what is being done to the western uplands of Britain in their name. These turbine parks are truly massive, requiring to be serviced by networks of new roads, quarries, pylons and substations across virgin moorland. The saving in greenhouse gas is negligible — less in a year than is exhaled by one transatlantic jet. The subsidies would be infinitely better spent cleaning coal and gas stations, insulating houses and investing in nuclear power. Turbines look good on “green” brochures; they are literally nothing but spin.

Until last year some attempt was made to keep the turbines away from national parks, proof that even ministers knew them to be ugly and intrusive. Mr Prescott has reversed this requirement, allowing their erection along national park boundaries. Wildness lovers must look the other way. The Deputy Prime Minister is like a Hull tycoon depositing his industrial dirt on the workers’ gardens.

If anything will be regarded as precious in post-industrial Britain it is the quality of life invested in landscape, urban and rural. Turbines would be objectionable even if they were productive, like the railways or cooling towers which already intrude on the countryside. But they intrude far more, and with far less justification.

If Mr Blair were serious about global warming he would invest in a new generation of nuclear stations as a talisman of ecological seriousness. Yet last year he funked the issue by asking a Commons committee with a laugh, “Would you want one in your constituency?” Nobody has dared put one wind turbine on the Chilterns overlooking Chequers. The Prime Minister carefully holidays abroad.
 

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Tall buildings can fit into the urban fabric, Simon seems to forget that this area of Vauxhall has no decent existing urban fabric, it is a mess and although this tower wont solve the problems by itself it isnt going to ruin anything. This is a far cry from the towers the sprung up by the side of the royal parks and out of context.
 

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Height of Canary Wharf? Someone should email him the London Diagram from SSP. Moron :bash: :wallbash: :nuts:
 

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Simon Jenkins has been an asshole for as long as I can remember. I dont remember reading a single column of his that I agreed with.
 

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Simon Jenkins hates suburbs but also hates highrise living.

Where does this chump expect us to live?
 

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Jonny 5 said:
Simon Jenkins hates suburbs but also hates highrise living.

Where does this chump expect us to live?
townhouses. Thousands of squares miles of em.

maisonettes for the proles.
 

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This guy is a complete ****.
he's even slagin off LBT.
Any have his e-mail address. :bash:

btw. I am posting this from skyscraper heaven, i'm in NYC
 

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Actually, the point about zoning is a good one. As long as Vauxhall does become part of a cluster, then it's OK, but on its own, it's messy.
 

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Yep
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good point - but we know this skyscraper boom has legs - I'm sure LBT wont be alone for very long, and Vauxhall tower too will get sisters in time.
 

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The guy does have a point, if London just has high rises placed where ever land becomes available, it will look very messy. The only exception this I would say is LBT, as it looks so spectacular in it's location by itself.

It's still possible to build densley without skyscrapers or townhouses. 7/8 storey apartment blocks can hold alot of people (not as many as a skyscraper obviously) and are much easier to blend into an existing street.

Personally I think all developments in London above about 15 storeys should be confined to Canary warf and London City, with the exception of LBT. Even if a cluster does develop around Vauxall, that will be 3 skyscraper clusters in the city. The overall effect would be much better if we had 2 larger ones than 3 small ones.
 

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no, im sorry, the only good point he has is about clustering of skyscrapers. everything else is just total crap.

i cant help but feel this is nothing more than an attack on labour as apposed to an attack on skyscrapwers and wind farms, and instead of having a valid argument has decided to nit-pick at anything he can.

i dont think i need to discuss the skyscraper issue anymore here but the wind farm thing is something i feel i must air my opinions on.

currently studying the whinash wind farm on the edge of cumbria, i am in full support of it. the plan is to build 27 turbines upto 350ft high, the tallest of their kind in europe.

this in itself may sound a bit ott but they are locate riht next to the M6. it is not in the national park and being located right next to scar of 8 lanes of concrete though the landscape is hardly an untouched area or moor land. it is in the highlands but in a valley surrounded by 1000ft "hill" it isnt as if these are going to be visable by everyone. he could have smaller turbines if he wants, but hey we'd have to have shitloads more of them

also, surely he is not against green energy, but is against the more friendliest of sources. solar energy involves building a huge powerstation destroying wat is there already and using water would ivlove building huge dams.... atleast with wind, turbines can co exist with whatever is there already.......
 

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At heart Simon Jenkins appears to be a classic example of a NIMBY. Its easy to hate high rises and suburban sprawl, but what are the alternatives? In principle there can be a high density low rise approach towards accommodating new homes and growth in London, but this will entail demolishing large swathes of low density 2-4 storey London to build dense apartment building "a la Paris" 6-8 stories high, and I doubt this will be popular with many when the large scale demolition is proposed. Unless you have the dictatorial development power enjoyed by Hausmann, Jenkin's alternative redevelopment approach is, to say the least, hopelessly naive.
 

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What I find funny is how he whines that skyscrapers are popping up everywhere and are looking out of place in the skyline, yet he'd be the first person to take up arms if more were proposed in those areas.

He's nothing but a conservative hack.
 

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Okay, Jenkins isn't actually a bad columnist, some of his views for example on drug laws and how futile they are, are progressive.

This article... well, I agree with him for Montparnasse. I actually like the tower but its in completely the wrong place and the whole area is horrific. It feels dangerous, run down and completely out of keeping with the local fabric.

With the wind farms I can't comment until I've been to the area in which they are being put up. I do think they should try and put windfarms offshore if possible however. Also there is one hell of a lot of subsidy going on... you need a lot of windmills for not much power! Maybe going nuclear might be better for the medium/long term.

With the whole skyscraper clustering in London.... well his points about having a coherent plan and keeping clusters where they exist are valid. I think Vauxhall tower is okay though as the Millbank Tower is opposite it anyway! Its a pleasant design as well. What about St Georges Wharf..... that must hit 20 or so storeys, as with the MI6 HQ. Theres a mid-rise cluster there already. I bet you he has a flat in Montevetro so it'll block his view!

I think there should be clusters in the East City, around Citypoint, Canary Wharf/Isle of Dogs, Southwark and maybe Hammersmith. What London doesnt want is tooth gapped mess.... you want all the best stuff concentrated together. Osaka hasn't planned its skyline well - it could have one of the worlds best if they'd have thought about it.
 

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dom said:
Okay, Jenkins isn't actually a bad columnist, some of his views for example on drug laws and how futile they are, are progressive.

.

he's still a class 1 tosser.

I'm impressed by how effectively he can convey smugness just through written prose though.
 

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Simon Jenkins hates suburbs but also hates highrise living.

Where does this chump expect us to live?
Perhaps in a very expensive luxury abode like his...in fact lets all move to his place ! prick..

I dont want London to look like Paris or New York...I like the apparent mess , I truly do..
 
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