Monday 15 August 2011

Thumbs Down For Disappointing Town Hall Mark II

Photo construction from property firm King Street Regeneration
which is owned by Grainger Plc and Helical Bar Plc
About four months have passed since H&F Conservatives and their property speculator partner promised to go away and develop exciting new proposals for their infamous Town Hall office scheme. Now they’re back but the proposals are neither exciting nor that new.

The ridiculous bridge into Furnivall Gardens remains but it’s more worrying that the scheme still contains proposals for big, shiny, new and unnecessary offices for Town Hall bureaucrats. That fact alone has tied the hands of the negotiators and meant that Conservative councillors and their officials failed to deliver even the expected cut of five floors for each of the three residential blocks of flats. Instead, it has cut the number of flats by just 30 and appears to be heralding its major achievement as reducing only one tower block, close to the river, by just four floors.

Meanwhile, all of the following has been offered up just to suit the wish for council officials to get brand new offices:
  • The demolition of the cinema and replacement with a supermarket – probably a Tesco
  • The demolition of all 54 Pocklington Trust homes for the blind
  • The demolition of the King Street shops immediately in the block to the west of the cinema
  • No affordable housing
  • Blighting the Hammersmith skyline for generations to come
That’s some sacrifice and for what? As I mentioned before, the people leading this have become emotionally attached to getting new Town Hall offices. That’s inappropriate and we won’t get a decent regeneration scheme in King Street, that has wide ranging public support until those new council offices are dropped from this project.

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