What I am worried about is that 'some of the early housing sites' in the proposals have always included some of our precious few open and green areas, eg. parts of the area around Dickens Sq including the Butterfly Walk, and the Bankside Open SPaces Trust HQ with its gardens and polytunnel. Anyone know (James H, you always seem to have the answers!) whether this is in the agreed masterplan? It was in all the proposals, hidden away, so I guess its going to happen - and soon. It was kind of inevitable once the commitment had been made to Heygate residents that certain percentages of them would be rehoused locally. Thats how these damaging developments get through and 'receive support' - its easy when you disguise them by not mentioning that they are an inevitable consequence of something that sounds beneficial.
I must confess that I am less than convinced by the need for green & open spaces. They generally look like dumps, as nobody has any responsibility for them (apart from our beloved council), they are used by oiks for playing football, and they attract litter and are under-grassed.
Driving to Putney last Saturday morning, very early, a friend and I made this exact comment.
I was under the impression that litter got onto green spaces because people threw it there, not because of some hitherto unpublicised law of Physics causing green spaces to attract it.
Please also consider what the 'oiks' might be up to if they had no football area. Anyway they are just much part of our area as you and me.
I do agree with you about the 'undergrassing' though. I am fed up of the argument that it would be impractical to grass particular areas because the grass would wear out. No wonder it wears out - there is so little of it that any tiny bit is so overused it doesnt have a hope. I wish the Tate had given us a bit more greenery instead of a parade ground.
What the planners need to do is hold on very tight to their capacity to dream, to leap right out of the context of the present abjection of my neighbourhood of almost a decade and a half. It needs total radical transformation and to achieve that it needs conviction, confidence and determination in the face of what will be massive forced compromise, changes of regime, forced increases in density to already agreed plans, and contractors syphoning off at every level. To have Fosters involved is a bulwark against some of that, whatever else one thinks of Foster's so called landmark buildings in London.
These drawings have of course been dipped in green ink, however the green is very easily achieved, it is again a matter of will, things as simple and small as REplanting as well as planting. I think that a serious amount of green space, and not just bald open abandonment but landscaped, treeed, complex space, is essential, if you take the wide and long view. Only if that is secure is it tenable to fill in all the little pockets of once abandonned now sort of green spaces like the Butterfly Walk etc. What looks like happening is that those will be gone very soon, filled with cheap, very compromised housing, and the green area will be compromised and compromised over the next decade until it is a collection of postage stamps.
Ditto what is lacking here is a serious over view of transport. What's the point in fiddling with the roundabout like this, when we still have the whole of south east England's traffic streaming right into the heart of an increasingly residential area? There has been no attempt to rethink that admittedly complicated issue.
But, but, but, we used to be able to dream collective dreams, be genuinely ambitious, commit to radical change instead of only hold on to immediate personal interests. Similarly, this does look a bit monolithic, but then so did and does the Barbican, and a more intelligent and porous Barbican with a big wild park would not be a disappointment to me. But why not expect more? Why limit those demands at all? Why not dream, engage, insist?
With a regeneration project of this size the design is important but by far more important are the little human details:
The action plan regarding the decanting process of those poor residents living on the Heygate Estate
Community involvement??? Particularly the youth and yes they may well use the only available green space as a make-shift football pitch if they are not involved in the planning process
MAINTENANCE - e.g. purchasing lights that can be replaced easily without waiting 3 months for a replacement from Finland! and then accessible fitting procedures.
Maintenance - Maintenance - Maintanance think long term rather than short term as sadly some I SAID SOME Architects and Planners do.......... heard a rumour that windows on the Gherkin are beginning to crack - could be interesting.
the only difference between this unveiling and the previous unveiling of plans in 1999 is that this time the "artist's impressions" are even more fuzzy than they were in 1999. I notice that the time line of just over a decade remains the same, though. I am intrigued at how streamlined and space-age the existing rail track is made to look, as it slices a swaith through the middle of the design. Presumably we will get space-age trains and space-age time-keeping to go with it.
If it were possible and indeed necessary to please EVERYBODY when it came to redevelopment of an area or the construction of a new development then nothing would ever get done (sounding familiar..??) I do agree that both developers and planners get it horribly wrong sometimes but at the end of the day the initial concept (green ink et al) is considered by the world and his wife and goes through an horrific mill before a brick is laid...
The problem with the whole process is that some valid concerns are worth giving some consideration to but the anti everything league object for the sake of objecting. Before I get a barrage I am not suggesting posts here are of that sort... Regeneration is a good thing but needs to be considered carefully. Elephant needs something and green or no green the proposals are a massive improvement for the area and will benefit a lot of people - not just developers...