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English Heritage criticises Wandsworth's 'core strategy'

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Wandsworth Council has come under fire from English Heritage following the recent publication of its core strategy for the South London borough

English Heritage has voiced concerns about the proposed high-rise developments at Battersea Power Station by Rafael Viñoly, Clapham Junction by Collardo Collins and New Covent Garden Market.

An English Heritage spokesman said: ‘Regrettably, it appears that none of the issues that we raised in relation to [tall buildings] in our letter of 25 October 2007 have been addressed.’

English Heritage has subsequently called for the council to erase sections from the core strategy document that promote these regeneration sites as suitable locations for towers. Instead, the organisation has suggested Wandsworth commission an urban design study based on their Guidance on Tall Buildings, co-authored with CABE.

Roger Mascall, partner and heritage expert at independent planning consultant DPP, said: ‘Irrespective of the merits of these proposed developments, Wandsworth Council should be applauded for setting out exactly how it intends to approach such developments. It is telling that we have yet to see the publication of other such strategy documents for other London boroughs where tall buildings are perhaps more prevalent. It will be interesting to see how this exchange develops.’

Public hearing sessions on the document are due to be held in July, and Wandsworth Council has stated: ‘We are considering all responses to the consultation.’

Meanwhile, Labour MP for Batteresa Martin Linton has also waded into the argument, raising the issue of tall buildings during a Westminster Hall debate.

‘I say bring back the height guidelines,’ said Linton. ‘That will give developers the certainty that they need to plan, and it will give architects the discipline that they need to flourish.’

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