Heritage inspectors claim projects by Chipperfield, Squire and Hopkins would destroy views
Among the schemes in question is David Chipperfield’s Elizabeth House, which developer Chelsfield is expected to submit to Lambeth Council planners this spring.
Also under threat are Squire & Partners’ Shell Centre and Hopkins’ proposed masterplan for Waterloo station — which is linked to the Elizabeth House scheme. All are part of a prominent redevelopment zone called the Waterloo Opportunity Area which was launched by the London mayor’s office in 2007.
But developers have accused the heritage body of scaremongering. One developer, who asked not to be named, said: “They want to cause a fuss and scare the government in an Olympic year. The heritage protection in place is absolutely adequate.”
Another developer added: “They were talking about a buffer zone a few years ago, which is just mad.”
A Unesco spokesman defended its most recent visit and added that conservation sites were regularly reviewed to ensure safeguarding was adequate.
As part of an attempt to appease Unesco, mayor Boris Johnson has unveiled proposals to protect the views between Portcullis House and Big Ben. A four-week consultation about this view ends next week, but in the consultation document architects and developers are told that any developments within the Waterloo Opportunity Area should be “sensitively designed and be of the highest architectural quality”.
It adds: “Any development that appears in the interval between the Clock Tower and Portcullis House should not compromise a viewer’s ability to appreciate the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage Site.”
Last year Johnson gave his backing to developers working on plans close to London’s four World Heritage Sites, which also include the Tower of London, Kew Gardens and Maritime Greenwich.
Chipperfield and Squire & Partners both declined to comment.
Courtesy of our friends at BD Magazine
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