I thought you may be interested in a postscript to Astragal's article regarding the Georgian terrace at 12-20 Mare Street, Hackney, which appeared in aj 19.9.90.
The article castigated the Crown Estate Commissioners because the collapse of the development market had thwarted its ambition to restore this terrace as part of a larger plan to develop the area.
Far from avoiding their responsibility, the commissioners actively explored alternative ways of giving these houses a new lease of life. An innovative lease arrangement was made with the Spitalfields Trust, which has an established record of restoring historic buildings in East London. The deal allowed the trust to sublet to interested individuals with an agreed programme and scope of works. The trust provided the knowledge, experience and project- management back-up while allowing the individuals the freedom to create their own homes.
As the project draws to a close, a trip down Mare Street will reveal the quality of the workmanship this project has achieved. I trust you will agree all concerned are to be congratulated on a successful outcome.