Chris Medland's comments
Dear Paul - it is not the Mayor who has landed us with this bill. As the AJ's great research shows, all other issues aside (need, location, procurement, environmental damage etc.), it was the decision of the trustees in January 2016 to sign a construction contract that had huge cancellation costs when they had not even established a legal right to build on the land. This decision is noted clearly in the publically available minutes and despite all the risks to our money they proceeded regardless. Do you agree that it is important that when spending (and applying for) millions of pounds of public money that an organisation must act with due care and diligence?
arguably, in reference to his point about suffering a loss as a result of the Trustees actions, the good people of Battersea & Fulham (and anybody passing through) have suffered a direct loss that is measurable....
Large scale developments like this are typically unaffected by passing cycle of recessions and booms as the amount of time they take to plan and build can be a decade or more. The can being kicked down the road is a stark reminder that the uncertainty of Brexit is causing greater risk to projects of all scales which developers are seeing as unacceptable. Given the stalling of the housing market and the problems the retail sector are facing I wouldn't be surprised if other large scale developments slow down or even stop. Battersea Power Stations next phases for instance and work around the Olympic Park. Sadly, I fear we could be looking at a few years of very limited workload for the entire industry as the major players wait to see how the cards are dealt.
Both Boris Johnson and Sadiq Kahn have reiterated that many reports and investigations into this saga have been carried out. Boris Johnson in particular seemed to use this as some kind of defence during his reply to the GLA’s Oversight and Scrutiny Committee. What I find bewildering is that these reports and the subsequent release of the Trust minutes by TfL expose some very serious failings(as reported in the AJ) yet it would seem that this is inconsequential and the fact that scrutiny has been carried out is enough alone. It’s as if there is a series of tick boxes on a cover sheet somewhere that shows that due diligence has been undertaken but nobody in authority has the time or inclination to actually read the contents. This scrutiny is irrelevant unless action is then taken to rectify any mistakes or wrongdoing exposed. These investigations need to be brought to a conclusion to prevent it ever happening again, to allow the law of the land to prevail, and to at least attempt to rescue or claw back as much of the public money as possible. Just a quick search on twitter, or reading of comments on the Guardian online, shows how much of a bad taste this has left in terms of public opinion – and many, in a roundabout way, blame the construction industry for wasting public money on fees alone, they blame Architects and Engineers. Unless this matter is brought to the right conclusion in the right theatre the damage done to our industry may last a generation. This project being led by a Charity, funded by both Government and Transport for London falls between at least 3 areas of accountability and is prone to falling between the gaps. Both an NAO and a Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry will highlight further what is already known but neither will have the teeth to deal with what may be exposed. More boxes ticked on that cover sheet.
very nice - hope it gets consent
It's a very nice building, however, rain doesn't fall vertically anywhere on these islands so those projecting canopies will not allow for much protection from inclement weather, and although dramatic and enjoyable, the gabion walls, stark detailing, protecting angular roofs along with the angular zig-zag type ID elements etc. lead to an architecture more akin to a science museum or electricity company HQ. A welcoming, warm, daytime home for children it is not.
a shame. could have been great
Sadly I suspect the building and its interiors are for the history books. Given the extent of the damage rebuilding a facsimile seems illogical now, it would be a near 100% copy rather than a repair. No doubt an international competition will be held for its replacement....
To be fair it looks like a piece of any random western city built in the last 30 years or so. Not hugely offensive but equally what's good about it? I'm sure that each building will be designed impeccably in detail and each have merits etc. though overall the impression is that nobody sat down and planned out what was to be achieved in the bigger picture. Large developments like this are few and far between and are opportunities to progress how a city is formed. This looks on the face of it to be just a repetition of things that have been done before, but maybe in an economy where it's very difficult to build anything that is good enough.
time to update the graphic... its sunk.