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Prince in impassioned plea to save Bishopsgate 'treasures'

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Prince Charles has added his voice to the controversy surrounding east London's Bishopsgate Goodsyard, calling for a halt to plans to demolish the Braithswaite Viaduct.

The Prince has come out in support of a proposal from English Heritage for the Victorian railway arches to be retained and for the East London Line to be constructed above them.

In an impassioned appeal, published in the Evening Standard this week, the Prince said the destruction of 'one of the city's most astonishing hidden treasures' and its replacement with 'yet another predictable proliferation of glass-sided offices' would be a 'desperate tragedy'.

And he stated the need to resist 'what I can only describe as the 'genetically modified' urban planning that has built so many soulless housing estates, shopping malls and office 'parks' elsewhere.

Bishopsgate has been the site of a battle between the Corporation of London, Railtrack and the GLA, which would like to see it entirely redeveloped, and English Heritage and the Prince's Foundation, which wish to see it preserved.

Lord Rogers'Architecture and Urbanism Unit at the GLA is advising Railtrack on a competition for the site. The shortlist of 12 revealed last week (AJ 25.4.02) includes Foster and Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects and Rem Koolhaas' Office for Metropolitan Architecture.

Advisor to the mayor Ricky Burdett said the high-calibre architects on the list had been chosen to make sure the winning design tackled the conflict surrounding the development.

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