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20th Century Society attacks new Brunswick Centre plan

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The Twentieth Century Society has attacked new proposals by Patrick Hodgkinson and Levitt Bernstein Associates to redevelop London's Brunswick Centre. New plans were submitted to Camden council last week, after the building's Grade II listing last September forced a review of the original plans (AJ 21.9.00).

Although the scheme is still to cost £20 million, the plans have been scaled down, with offices at the northern end and a fish restaurant at the south dropped from the proposals. The sticking point is the proposal to build a supermarket at the northern entrance to the '60s icon. The Twentieth Century Society objects because the polished concrete and glass elevations are 'too imposing and overpowering'. The society has complained to developer Allied London Properties.

Society chairman Kenneth Powell is also critical of new landscaping proposals, consisting of new paving, tree planting, grassed platforms and a pool, which he describes as 'fussy'.

But Patrick Hodgkinson, the original architect of the centre, says landscaping has been modified since the society saw the plans, and they are likely to change further. But he insists the supermarket must stay where it is. 'There must be a large supermarket here. There is nowhere else we can put it.'

But plans for a dramatic new steel and glass entrance to the Renoir Cinema on Brunswick Square have been welcomed by the society. Powell praised it for its 'lightness of touch'. He said he is 'broadly happy'with the proposals for a 'very difficult' redevelopment.

English Heritage welcomed the scheme, saying it 'struck a balance between the need to preserve the building and the need to improve it'.

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