We learnt on Friday that English Heritage have recommended the listing of phases 1-4 of Broadgate for listing at grade II*— this is very positive news, but will the Minister follolw the advice?
Coverage in the free newsheet City AM was pretty outrageous this morning—we have written to the editor as follows:
C20 Society is appalled by the City Am coverage of the proposed listing of Broadgate (Monday 6 June 2011):
It’s inaccurate –it says English Heritage have recommending giving “all 13 buildings on the estate Grade II status”—not true, it’s just the buildings and sculpture in phases 1 to 4 and they are recommended at grade II*.
It puts Stuart Fraser (City of London Corporation’s Policy Chairman) on the front page appearing to front their DONT LIST BROADGATE campaign, when his comment piece inside says that he wants the City exempt from the proposed relaxation of the need for planning permission to switch from commercial to residential use—i.e. rather than calling for exemption from listing controls, and he is actually calling for the retention of one bit of “red tape” which happens to suite the City.
Editor Allister Heath, says that “English Heritage doesn’t seem to understand that Broadgate is not of the same calibre” as Tower Bridge or the House of Commons and “its obsession with preserving at any cost makes no sense.” This shows no attempt to provide balanced coverage of the issues, or any recognition of the very careful evaluation process and extensive consultations. Yes,C20 Society and EH realise that Broadgate is a very different proposition to established iconic buildings long since accepted as symbolic of Britain’s heritage. Yes we knew this would be a controversial recommendation. But it is important to try to ensure that the very best and most representative buildings ,of a decade where the City in particular experienced vast changes in image and function, are preserved. Despite the furore there are plenty sites where development would not only allow the City to provide space for development, but where the current buildings are at best mediocre and redevelopment would be a very good thing. What’s more listing would not mean that the Broadgate buildings could not adapt and change in the future—there certainly would be plenty of scope for radical internal refitting.
The City AM coverage is biased, alarmist and ill informed, and misses the opportunity to let City workers join in a very serious debate about how we balance a vigorous and economically successful future with the continuing enrichment of our physical record of our multi layered past.