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SAVE launches petition against Hall McKnight's Strand plans

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Campaign group SAVE Britain’s Heritage has launched a petition calling on King’s College London to shelve the controversial redevelopment of its campus off The Strand

The college last week received planning permission from Westminster City Council to demolish historical buildings and create new facilities which it says are needed to maintain its position as a world-leading education institution.

More than 2,200 people have already put their name to the petition on website 38degrees.co.uk, pleading for a rethink of the proposals, designed by practice Hall McKnight.

A statement by the group said: ‘This case has triggered national interest and struck a nerve with all who love London.

‘SAVE has been overwhelmed by messages of support for our position, and anger and disappointment at the decision to grant planning permission. This petition aims to demonstrate this strength of feeling.’

The conservation group submitted strong objections to the planning application, along with the Victorian Society, The Ancient Monument Society, LAMAS, the Courtauld Institute and the Somerset House Trust, as well as many individuals.

The buildings scheduled for demolition are recognised by council planning policy as ‘unlisted buildings of merit’ in the Strand Conservation Area.
But a planning report submitted to the planning committee which approved the scheme, said: ‘While the proposals do cause some harm in terms of the loss of the unlisted buildings of merit and the impact of the “tower” on views from Fountain Court, it is considered that this harm is less than substantial to the heritage assets affected.

But SAVE said it strongly disagreed with the assessment, and criticised English Heritage for its support for the proposals partly because the buildings have been internally altered.

‘Conservation areas are not designated primarily for their interiors and works to interiors do not require permission,’ it said.

After gaining planning permission last week, Hall McKnight insisted the practice had carried out a ‘careful study of a remarkably complex environment’ before submitting the plans.

Both the practice and Kings College refused to comment.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • SAVE is surely absolutely correct in its assessment - the pressure to enable a large and influential institution to consume its surroundings like some sort of malignant growth has to be resisted - the damage done by the University of Edinburgh in past years is surely the classic ample of what not to do.
    And the sheer drabness of Hall McKnight's proposal adds insult to injury.

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