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Michael Ball

Michael Ball

Recent activity

Comments (22)

  • Comment on: Shuttleworth: 'The Garden Bridge makes a statement about London's creativity'

    Michael Ball's comment 10-Aug-2015 7:42 am

    Declare an interest, perlease, Mr Shuttleworth! Less than 100m from the site proposed for the Garbage Bridge a slender Seifert South Bank sister to Centre Point is being bulked up and extended skyward, with four mini towers added, all to transform a central London workspace employing 3,000 people into a skyhigh pile of safety deposit boxes for investors and launderers posing as high-end chi chi flats - all designed and delivered by Make, Mr Shuttleworth's own brand of transformative. But the most miserable part of Make's design is that the 11 extra greedy floors atop Seifert's tower will ensure that it will be very clearly seen from inside the courtyard at Somerset House - a fate Seifert carefully avoided - thereby completely wrecking a glorious and unique bit of supposedly protected London history right in the heart of the city. At least the Garbage Bridge's proponents admitted it would wreck views of Somerset House from the river, even if you would only have found that admission if you had got to volume 8 of the appendices to their Environmental Impact Assessment (maybe Rob Leslie-Carter should give it a read?). Make kept quiet about their destruction of the inside of Somerset House, and the clutz at English Heritage completely missed it until after permission was granted. So, no lessons in urbanity from you, perlease, Mr Shuttleworth!

  • Comment on: Emmott: 'Londoners overwhelmingly want the Garden Bridge'

    Michael Ball's comment 29-Jul-2015 0:22 am

    Bizarre Bee, what are you saying? Are you not ashamed to put your name to this drivel? "The Garden Bridge will break new territory... a new, free public garden in the heart of urbanised London". Wow! A new garden!! Is that 'breaking new territory' because its new - unlike nearby 'old' Jubilee Gardens (2012) or 'old' Kensington Gardens (1728), or 'old' Camley St Gardens (1985) and all the other urban gardens inbetween in London which were built sometime before the Right Now? "2,500m² of brand new garden" for £175m? What are planting, caviar trees? "65 per cent of the capital costs to build it fundraised from the private sector" But your own figures show that you have only 35% (£65m out of £175m) of the capital costs pledged from the private sector! Doh!! "reducing pressure on Waterloo Station" - how? By creating a visitor attraction bringing 3m additional visitors to the area? Doh The "economic benefits will be- close to £500 million over 60 years" will be generated by 5% uplift in property prices in the area according to the Strategic Business Case,,, which is of course precisely what London needs now with an over-heated housing market... Not! Doh!!! "We must be bolder [than asking what problem it solves], go beyond simply function and seek out the ideas, opportunities and the inspiration it presents"? It's fine to go beyond simple function, but if you're proposing a BRIDGE it must at least pass muster on the simple functional level. Does a structure which connects unrelated spaces and closes at night and on occasional days and elicits long queues pass muster as a bridge? Finally, what is the "inspiration it presents"? The inspiration to every insider to hook up with a grinning chancer and try an audacious raid on the public realm and the public purse?

  • Comment on: Ian Ritchie: 'What problem does the Garden Bridge solve?'

    Michael Ball's comment 28-Jul-2015 10:26 am

    Eight questions which need to be answered to lift the fog of nefarious cronyism and illegality this project seems immersed within: 1) on what basis did Boris give TfL instruction to start working on this project at cost (£4m) in late 2012? At that point there was no strategic need for a bridge identified 2) on what basis did TfL commission Heatherwick - the designer of a specific scheme touted in 2012 to trigger (1) above - to undertake an options analysis in Feb 2013? There was still no strategic need identified 3) Why did TfL insist in May 2013 that the winning design team for the main contract - Arup - sub-contract Heatherwick as designer? 4) On what basis did George Osborne and Boris agree to provide £60m of public funds in Nov 2013? There was still no strategic business case - this wasn't published until May 2014. How did this meet the requirements of the Treasury Red Book? 5) The strategic business case argues that being privately funded the Garden Bridge is the best option: but it's not privately funded, since it was known by that time that the Treasury and TfL were putting in £60m of public funds. How is this rational and therefore how is it legal? 6) Why did English Heritage fail to notice that assessments had not been provided in the planning application of key protected views, and sign off on its acceptability 4 months before permission was granted, and 3 months before those additional damning images were finally provided? 7) On what basis has Boris agreed to hand over £40m by early Sept 2015 to the Garden Bridge Trust on a project with many risks unresolved including 46 planning conditions and no interest in the land required to build the bridge? 8) Given the exorbitant costs - 5 times the cost of the proposed bridge at 9 Elms/ Pimlico - why has TfL or Boris or George not required the GB proposal be tested for value and costs reduced where possible? 8) On what rational basis can Boris claim that this is a private project and yet commit £150m of public money to the maintenance for the next 125 years, on top of the £60m capital from the public purse?

  • Comment on: Ian Ritchie: 'What problem does the Garden Bridge solve?'

    Michael Ball's comment 27-Jul-2015 1:23 pm

    Hurrah! Well said Ian. It is so disappointing that our body politic is in such bad shape that this nonsense greenwash bridge was actually taken seriously for 18 months and granted planning permission by supine local planning authorities in the face of Boris' brazen on-sided unstrategic championing of this folly. It is a testament to the paucity of this project and the anger it has generated that the campaign against it ( has only been going 8 months, but has had huge support (10,000 people have signed petitions - please sign! Thundering leaders in the FT and Observer, stories on BBC etc) and a serious impact on its deliverability. The Garden Bridge Trust claim they need to be on site this autumn and building in January, but (i) as a recently designated Asset of Community Value there is no chance that they will have the necessary interest in the land on the South Bank before next Easter, and possibly never; (ii) they have not raised any significant new funding over the past 9 months, despite all the hype and Boris' disgraceful recent decision to release £40m of public money to them by September, they are still £50m short; (iii) there are 46 conditions to be resolved, which at the earliest won't be resolved until December; (iv) the legality of Boris' promised underwriting of the annual running costs (worth £150m capitalised) may well be tested in the High Court - support the campaign and a legal challenge

  • Comment on: Kerslake mulls legal action to stop Right to Buy extension

    Michael Ball's comment 17-Jul-2015 11:48 am

    The Right to Buy needs to be extended to hotel rooms, school places, seats on trains, political parties... oh, that last one's already been implemented

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