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Hawkins\Brown joins call to revive Parliament Square overhaul

Hawkins\Brown has welcomed a report by the Hansard Society calling for the redevelopment of Parliament Square in London

In 2007 the studio beat Foster and Partners in a contest to revamp the square but the £18 million project was kicked into the long grass following Boris Johnson’s election as London mayor the following year.

Practice director Roger Hawkins said: ‘We have to welcome the report, it’s putting [the project] back on the agenda.

‘To open up the site for interpretation would be fantastic and that’s what the Hansard report recognises. If there could be political support that could be a catalyst to make it happen.’

The George Grey Wornum-designed central London square has been closed to the public since a peace camp was evicted from the site opposite the Palace of Westminster last summer. Hawkins\Brown’s scheme proposed paving over parts of the garden and pedestrianising the side closest to Westminster Abbey.

The Hansard Society report described the square’s current condition as a ‘national disgrace’, adding: ‘Parliament Square should be a place of national pride, a public space that reflects, shapes and sustains our national identity and democratic culture.’

The report’s author Ruth Fox said: ‘The current state of the area does not say much for our sense of national pride and civic values. Those tasked with responsibility for the area have been negligent in their stewardship. Our proposals offer a new vision which puts the citizen and visitor at the heart of the area.

‘The opportunity to showcase the area during next year’s Olympics and Diamond Jubilee - the biggest events attracting people to the capital in a generation - has largely been wasted. But there are new opportunities ahead, particularly linked to the 2015 Magna Carta anniversary.

‘The worst outcome of all would be for the stakeholders, as in the past, to adopt an all or nothing approach. Implementation of any of the proposals set out in this report would be an improvement on the status quo.’

The Greater London Council attempted to improve the square in the 1970s and plans to revamp the area also featured in Norman Foster’s 1998 World Squares Masterplan.

 

 

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