12 January 2011

MBE for local Tory opponent of Hammersmith's unwanted King Street development

With the Tories, what they leave out is as significant as what they put in. Take the coverage in the latest H&F News - aka The Greenhalgh Gazette - of the MBE recently awarded to local worthy Angela Clarke, former Chair and Secretary of the excellent Hammersmith Society.

Mrs Clarke, of course, was also 16 years a Tory councillor in Ravenscourt Park ward, the very same ward that will be blighted if her former colleagues succeed in ripping down the town hall extension, art deco cinema and homes for the blind in King Street and replacing them with a development that includes two 14-storey blocks of expensive flats which will destroy local views, make traffic worse and increase pollution.

H&F News fails to give, shall we say, the full flavour of the Hammersmith Society’s righteous fury about these plans. It whispers simply that this is one of the “areas of most interest” to the Society and that Mrs Clarke doesn’t want Hammersmith to “become like South Croydon”.

The Society’s own website goes rather further:

 “The height of the proposed office and residential development around the Town Hall, is quite excessive for this location. It includes two blocks of 14 plus storeys (in addition to blocks of 7, 8 and 9 storeys), which will damage views from Hammersmith Bridge and the river and further afield, and create a precedent which will make it impossible to prevent a rash of very tall buildings further along King Street. The public exhibition of plans did not show the impact of the height of the new development from the river and from the middle distance along King Street. It will dominate and overpower the surrounding low-rise streets.”

“The planned footbridge over the A4… will
dramatically alter this lovely and historic riverside open space [of Furnival Gardens] and reduce the area available for public enjoyment. And the raising of Nigel Playfair Avenue to first floor level at the Town Hall would have a disastrous impact on the setting of the listed Town Hall. The footbridge would also have a damaging effect on the cluster of very old and listed buildings around the Doves Passage at the west end of Furnival Gardens, including Grade II* Sussex House.”

Hear, hear. If only Mrs Clarke’s Tory ex-colleagues would listen.

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