The potential demolition of the Commonwealth Institute (AJ 01.06.06) is part of a double threat to Holland Park, together with Kensington & Chelsea's proposal to demolish Holland Park School and sell off 30 per cent of the site for luxury housing to fund a new 'academy'. This new school will dominate a conservation area dened as semi-rural by the council's chief planner.
Holland Park, the Commonwealth Institute, and Holland Park School were a combined, complementary product of a far-sighted council that saw schools, parks and public buildings as community assets to be nurtured. The semi-rural character of Holland Park is fragile and is reinforced by the adjacent landscaped areas of the institute and the school.
As both planning authority and nominal owner, Kensington & Chelsea should be the guardian of Holland Park, yet its proposals ignore its own planning guidelines, especially those about building height and tree preservation. The council leader's desire for a trophy school building is all that appears to matter in a borough with a massive Conservative majority.
Unless there is co-ordinated pressure on the council, Holland Park will suffer and the local community will be lumbered with yet more blocks of half-empty luxury housing and an unnecessary trophy school building with an atrium which bears an uncanny resemblance to some of HM's custodial institutions.
Tim Tinker, by email IS ROBERT ADAM GOING DUTCH IN SOUTH WALES?
I can only assume Robert Adam can't tell the difference between South Wales and Holland, if the image of his Welsh urban village scheme is anything to go by ( ajplus 23.06.06). Those are Flemish gables aren't they?
Also, what's an urban village? A 'village' type community in an urban setting? And not in an urban setting? a village!
Do these guys believe their own guff?
Owen H B Short, Architectural+EcoDesign, Swansea