Two wins for Vauxhall's answer to Manhattan
The press last week covered a double boost for London's Nine Elms regeneration area at Vauxhall - government approval for an extension of the Underground's Northern line to Battersea, and planning permission for the redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market. The Financial Times reported that the green light for the Northern line ended "years of uncertainty" for a project "seen as a key to the regeneration of Nine Elms because it will put it within a 15-minute tube journey of central London". The Times reported that the New Covent Garden Market redevelopment "will further transform the skyline of the fast-growing Nine Elms area" adding to its "reputation as the 'Vanhattan' of London". The Guardian highlighted that the redevelopment is one of several building schemes in the area, "which together will provide more than 20,000 homes, including 3,800 at Battersea power station".
Jenkins bows out after six years at Trust
Sir Simon Jenkins made waves as he left the National Trust after six years as chair, accusing Prime Minister David Cameron of overseeing destruction of the countryside, reneging on election promises to protect it. The Sunday Times quoted Jenkins as saying former planning minister Nick Boles was "effectively a recruiting officer for UKIP" because of his planning system reforms. In the Guardian, Jenkins argued that we lack language to express our love of landscape and buildings, which is now putting them at risk. "The coalition wants to tear up half a century of rural guardianship unique in Europe. It wants to give England the pockmarked landscapes of Ireland, Portugal and Spain," he wrote.
Pylons: Blot on the landscape or noble army?
Responding to news that National Grid is to spend £500 million burying the "biggest and ugliest" of the country's pylon network, the Guardian's architecture critic Oliver Wainwright asked "whether they are such a blot on the landscape". He said the process of banishing power lines below ground "involves digging a 50 metre-wide trench two metres deep to accommodate the six cables that each pylon carries, leaving ragged scars across the landscape". National Grid, he suggested, should save its money, and "learn to appreciate your noble army of six-armed soldiers". But writing in The Times, Alice Thomson said we will all profit if National Grid buries cables underground, arguing that transmission lines and pylons are an artificial intrusion into otherwise unspoilt landscapes. National Grid's decision shows that businesses can marry principle with making money, she contends.
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