What a difference a week makes – just days after Richard Rogers’ Lloyd’s building is denied listing, the architecture minister Barbara Follett announces that half a dozen post war prefabs in Catford are to be Grade-II listed
Although described as ‘seminal’, the government held that Lloyd’s was both too young (aged 28) and not under sufficient threat to warrant listing. Whereas the Lewisham ‘uni-seco’ concrete bungalows (pictured) have been deemed a ‘rare-surviving’ building type, exhibiting ‘both historical and architectural’ interest. Follett says they need heritage protection.
But the story doesn’t end there. English Heritage, which recommended the prefabs to the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) for listing, are disgruntled. The ‘disappointed’ heritage organisation wanted a further 15 of the homes listed, to make a total of 21 of the least-altered buildings on the larger 187-home Excalibur Estate. They are now pressing for the local authority ‘to consider the designation of a conservation area’ covering the entire estate.
Astragal has learned something interesting as he’s dug into the world of listing. It now appears the nation’s buildings don’t have to over 10 years old to be considered for a listing grade – just architecturally important and facing a potential mauling. This change to the criteria was, Astragal’s spies report, slipped out by the DCMS earlier this year. You heard it here first, folks.