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Howarth asks public to decide on Brunswick listing

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Listings minister Alan Howarth has stepped into the heritage argument surrounding London's Brunswick Centre (AJ 3.2.00) by asking for public views on listing it Grade II*. The move by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport follows a recommendation from English Heritage and Twentieth Century Society criticism of a new scheme for the building by its original architect, Patrick Hodgkinson.

The DCMS has set a deadline of 17 March for expression of views on whether the 1972 Bloomsbury building should be listed. The department said the centre, comprising 400 flats, shops, a cinema and car park, was influential in pioneering low-rise, high-density housing and had a 'seminal influence' on later architecture of universities and public housing - much of which is also now listed Grade II*.

But the move is certain to frustrate Hodgkinson and the developer he is working with on updating the Brunswick Centre, Allied London. Hodgkinson says that the building was never finished and that a listing would preserve it in aspic 'like a monument' rather than keep it alive.

The £20 million plans he came up with, to add a new anchor store and entrances and to paint the building, were strongly criticised by English Heritage. The Twentieth Century Society also weighed in with objections, and called for a listing.

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