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Strand demolition plans ‘called-in’

We welcome reports that Greg Clark has taken the unusual step of ‘calling-in’ King’s College London’s plan to demolish its historic Strand buildings. The scheme will now be assessed at a public inquiry.

The Victorian Society has welcomed reports that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, has taken the unusual step of ‘calling-in’ King’s College London’s plan to demolish its historic Strand buildings. The scheme will now be assessed at a public inquiry.

Christopher Costelloe, Director of the Victorian Society, said: ‘This is very happy news both for campaigners and the many ordinary Londoners who don’t want to see their historic city eroded. A public inquiry presents a rare opportunity for clarification on how unlisted heritage assets within conservation areas should be protected. Westminster’s decision to allow demolition raised issues about the effectiveness of conservation areas generally. If these buildings could be demolished, which were specially mentioned as making a positive contribution to the conservation area and are surrounded by Grade I listed buildings, such as Somerset House and St Mary le Strand - what couldn’t be demolished in a conservation area?’

The Victorian Society has been strongly opposed to King’s scheme from the outset, arguing that the ‘damaging’ plan would lead to a ‘blander’ London without creating enough space to provide a long-term solution to the College’s desire to expand. King’s had already stated that it is in talks with Westminster City Council about ‘how to take on board concerns’ following over 10,000 members of the public signing a petition started by Save Britain’s Heritage calling for the plans to be scrapped. However, this would not necessarily have seen the buildings saved. The public inquiry is a major step forward in the battle to save the Strand.

Wednesday 10 June, 2015

More recent item: Major step forward in restoration of Palace of Westminster
Earlier item: Nominate the most endangered buildings in England and Wales 2015

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