David Prosser: Rebuilding Broadgate isn't cultural vandalism
Thursday 16 June 2011
Outlook Given that the Government rarely ignores the recommendation of English Heritage that it should give a building listed status, the decision of Jeremy Hunt to do so for the Broadgate buildings in the heart of the City is worthy of scrutiny. And anyone who looks at the facts will conclude that the Cultural Secretary has put financial considerations first in this case.
Well, thank goodness for that. British Land, the owner of the Broadgate site, wants to begin a major reconstruction, a scheme that will generate sizeable numbers of jobs and boost the local economy. Once completed, the offices will become the European headquarters of the Swiss investment bank UBS – a powerful statement at a time when there is so much concern about large financial institutions deserting the UK.
In its submission to Mr Hunt, English Heritage accepted that the building, completed in 1985, falls under the "30-year rule" which says that more modern constructions should only be given listed status if they can be shown to be "of outstanding quality and under threat". At Broadgate, that case has not been made.
For one thing, the buildings themselves, while speaking to the spirit of the Eighties, are no more or less interesting than many other office blocks in London and elsewhere. For another, what English Heritage really values is the way the whole complex works together – "Rare for commercial developments, people enjoy Broadgate Square: in this sense, it is a triumph of urbanism," it explains – yet there development proposed by British Land includes the same sort of public space.
There are no end of peoplebetter qualified than me to judge the architectural merits of Broadgate as it stands and as it will. But the economic advantages of allowing redevelopment to proceed, subject to assurances about the quality of the new buildings, are too compelling to ignore.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
- 3 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 4 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 5 Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
iJobs Money & Business
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...
Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...