A couple of years ago there was a decision over the design for some new homes in Ravenscourt Park Ward – on 292-292 Goldhawk Road. The designs offered including the following.
This one from the architects Porphyrios:
This was was from another firm of architects, PTEa:
Both were within the planning brief – to provide 25 new homes of which 40 per cent were to be affordable – and thus meet the then Conservative council’s requirements on affordable housing. Both would have met the other planning requirements. Both were financially viable – allowing the council to reduce debt by selling the site and still allow the property developer First Base to make a profit.
So far, so good.
I would have liked the choice of design to be put to all residents in surrounding streets. Perhaps the thousand or so living closest to the site. It would have been not so much a consultation as a referendum.
Anyway instead a small committee – mostly of planners, developers and architects made the decision. There were only TWO residents on it. No councillors. They chose the ugly, modernist PTEa one. My own expectation is that had residents had the choice then the beautiful Porphyrios design would have proved more popular. I would have accepted either result as the choice would have been with the residents rather than just a tiny clique.
So I feel that was a missed opportunity.
Now there is another choice – on a rather large scale in another borough. What should the site of the Royal Mail sorting office in Mount Pleasant in Clerkenwell look like:
The current proposal is this:
The alternative would actually secure more homes – 730 rather than 681. It would deliver a better return to Rail Mail shareholders (the taxpayers still owns 30 per cent pf that business.) There are more details from Nicholas Boys Smith writing for Conservative Home’s Local Government section (which I edit.)
During the recent local elections I had the sense that many felt new buildings would mean more ugliness. This is not inevitable.