It does make me wonder if our policy-and-decision-makers are still able and willing to 'keep count' and 'keep watch', when I go to the Southwark Council-NLA (New London Architecture) 'Blackfriars Road' exhibition at the Building Store in Store Street (off Tottenham Court Road) and can't fail to notice that, for example, the whole Sampson House and Ludgate House development -- another huge and highly contested 'mixed-use scheme' of equal height and massing if not greater, across the road from 1 Blackfriars Road -- has been completely missed off the model, and plan, of 'consented and proposed developments' that make up the Blackfriars Road 'master plan'.
Is it the fact that this area, remote from the physical centres of power and spending -- being as it is on the Southwark/Lambeth border -- is particular vulnerable to 'competitive envisioning' by both our local representatives and property owners who do not have to live with the consequences of their actions but rather all-too-happily take the money and run ...for election in a different part of the borough or back home to the Middle and Far East with the proceeds.
Obviously the owners of SouthBank nee King's Reach Tower don't want to be made to look 'small in stature' -- if others nearby can have and profit from 41-50 storeys of outsize development, why shouldn't they. Little by not so little the new precedents are being set, and in every respect local residents are being overshadowed.
And no Mr John, that GBP22million does not make it alright. Affordable housing is being fundamentally undermined by the house-price inflation such schemes bring -- remembering that not all low-wage Londoners are in fact housed by local authorities but many of all age groups are at the mercy of the 'open market' all the while whole swathes of our communities are being sold off to non-resident, non (tax) domiciled investors who bring nothing to the life of a place 'on the ground' not even their money to local businesses.
£27.4 mio is a tidy sum indeed towards social housing.....however, the new tower just completing adjacent to St Georges Wharf in Vauxhall is advertising a three bed penthouse apartment for £20mio, with others coming in at around £3mio. If the developers of Kings Reach are looking for similar returns, it suddenly does not seem quite so "generous". Also, will the amount donated escalate at the same percentage that house prices increase during construction time?
An improvement on the original design as it gives the building a stronger vertical rise, yet I can't help but feel the top looks a little unresolved, blank walls and a clear definition between the old and new floors.