LETTER: Paternoster Square revisited

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The Independent Online
From Mr J. C. Bassett

Sir: When the proposed scheme for the redevelopment of Paternoster Square (Section Two, 8 January) first emerged, I warmed to it. I visited the exhibition in the crypt of St Paul's and thought it seemed warm and humane, in contrast to the proposals by Sir Richard Rogers and others which seem rather tired and formulaic. I was under the impression, probably incorrectly, that it would to some extent recreate the original street pattern, and maybe some of the atmosphere that existed before the Blitz.

Since then, I have become aware of the true nature of the scheme. Far from being a genuine and people-orientated development, it is in reality a hulking steel-framed office block, a patronising transatlantic sham designed to get around the mediocre tastes of Prince Charles, and a public which won't be overjoyed at yet another office scheme.

The question is what is to be done instead. It would be nice to establish the pre-Blitz atmosphere, but this is not easy. This sort of thing has to grow of its own accord, and any development must be of quality due to its siting. Maybe the answer is something along the lines of the current proposal, but without the sham and the tweeness, and with a diverse function.

Yours faithfully,

Julian Bassett

London, SW2

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