The Twentieth Century Society has branded the listing process ‘broken’ following Jeremy Hunt’s decision to reject Broadgate Square for statutory protection
Earlier today (15 June) the Culture Secretary ignored English Heritage’s ‘carefully considered’ recommendation by refusing to give the Arup Associates office campus in the City of London a Grade II* listing.
The move paves the way for a controversial redevelopment of part of the site by Ken Shuttleworth’s practice MAKE (pictured right).
Jon Wright, senior caseworker for the Twentieth Century Society, feels Hunt’s decision was based on factors other than the ‘architectural or historic significance’ of the 1980s development. He said: ‘The decision follows much speculation that listing would be interpreted as a signal that The City of London was no longer “open for business”.
‘We believe that the ongoing vitality of the City rests on it retaining and valuing the best buildings of all periods of its construction.
‘This is the latest in a line of recent cases where [we] believe factors other than those that should be considered in the listing process have decided the fate of an important historic building. Only “architectural or historic significance” should be taken into account.’
The loss of Broadgate’s best buildings will send another clear message that the listing process has broken down
He added: ‘This decision can do little to give confidence in a decision making process which has huge impact on the lives of many today, and the legacy we leave for future generations. Like Preston Bus Station, Birmingham Central Library, Redcar Library, the Commonwealth War Graves Building and the South Bank Centre, Broadgate has been turned down by a system which gives a single politician huge personal power.
‘Grade II* is reflective, not just of national, but international significance and Broadgate was indeed celebrated in that arena when constructed. London may be open for business, but the loss of Broadgate’s best buildings will send another clear message, that the process by which we have assessed and designated our collective built heritage since 1945, has broken down.’
C20 Society slams Hunt's Broadgate listing decision