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LOW-RISE LONDON IS A LUXURY WE CAN ILL AFFORD

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LETTERS

I have long considered the Corporation of London's obsession with protecting the views of St Paul's Cathedral as entirely laudable (AJ 10.11.05), but with the capital's growth continuing seemingly unchecked, tough decisions will have to be made about how inner-city housing and business density can realistically be increased - and mayor Ken Livingstone is absolutely right to look upwards rather than outwards to the future of the city.

St Paul's Cathedral is undoubtedly a great building, but maintaining the sight-lines of this historic masterpiece cannot be done at the expense of checking the sprawl of the capital - a sprawl which is currently threatening to spill over the boundary of the M25 and engulf the whole of the South East in a great swathe of low-density housing and offices, each of them surrounded by postage stamp-sized gardens and 'public' spaces so small as to be rendered completely meaningless for residents.

The Corporation must accept that the price to be paid for London as a financial and economic powerhouse is to consider it as a limited space. Hong Kong and New York, with their natural boundaries, have found out that the only way is up when it comes to growth.

The prospect of a high-rise city may fill today's architects with dread, but I would suggest the alternative is far worse.

Joseph Donahoe, London SW2

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