Robert Wakeham's comments
Chris Smith's justification for Historic England's behaviour is itself 'disappointing and incorrect' - there is no valid excuse for nodding through Studio Egret West's gratuitous messing with the elevations of Balfron Tower, or turning a blind eye to Heatherwick performing tricks with the Kings Cross coal drops.
Is Historic England taking too much notice of developers' business cases, and distorting its perception of its statutory duty to protect historic buildings from damage?
Is it perhaps also open to accusations of political correctness - of kowtowing to the clout of the great god Retail and perhaps also to a designer who might be clever, who seems to have gained the favour of some politicians, but who nevertheless shows scant sign of respecting or understanding the significance of historic buildings and landscapes?
Looking at the elevations, Studio Egret West & Ab Rodgers Design could have replaced the windows without changing the frame colour from light to dark - compare the first image with the second - that's not 'sensitive design' (are Historic England & the planners sleeping on the job?). It's more like vanity.
Perhaps his connections with George Osborne's aims and ambitions weren't close enough?
No way to treat some decent buildings - quirky skyscrapers are one thing, and quirky bridges are another - but overbearingly quirky add-ons imposed onto listed buildings?
This is a win for flavour-of the (more than) month vain and narcissistic design. Poor King's Cross.
Thank God - and common sense - for this.
Boris seems to have been mighty keen to cover his tracks - until found out, courtesy of the (under threat) Freedom of Information Act.
The destination of San Francisco suggests that the likes of Google might well have been a target - maybe the bridge is to get the name of one of the new breed of monster tech companies?
And I wonder what Boris's pal George knows of this - he also is mighty keen, for purely selfish reasons, to get his name attached to high profile populist initiatives, in contrast to the long term damage due to the unraveling of the basic fabric of this country through his determination to be seen to be 'balancing the books'.
Has Historic England adopted the sort of 'light touch' philosophy that got Gordon Brown - and us - into so much trouble with those supposedly brilliant guardians of the country's financial sector not so long ago?
Two architects of proven ability fouling Edinburgh with inappropriate dollops of 'developer dung' and if the city councillors (and the citizens, if DHP's pollsters are to be believed) have taken leave of their senses and ignore the counsel of their own planners then we're back to those inglorious days of selfish contempt for this wonderful city in the last century - when the University, amongst others, did serious harm to the urban fabric with utter disregard for any but their own narrow interests. Shame on the lot of them.
If the first image is of the main elevation, there's not a lot 'echoing the bays of the Edwardian mansion blocks....', while there's a fashionable display of gravity defying brickwork, and of ordered chaos in the pattern of solid and void - but the scale shows some respect.
The building has lost its magic - Doug Binnie's justifications for the infill are unimpressive, to put it politely - however sympathetic the detailing - and sadly it's no real surprise that the Edinburgh city council approved such a blatant example of 'dumbing down'.