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Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf - not Westminster council

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Campaigners have condemned planners for giving the go-ahead to smash down part of London closely linked to Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

Homes and a pub in Westminster's Marsham Street, Tufton Street and Bennetts Yard will go to make way for shops and flats by Pollard Thomas & Edwards, opposite the empty former DoE offices, but not part of their redevelopment.

The demolition would wipe out architecture from 1760 to 1930, says local group Thorney Island Society. Chair June Stubbs said: 'The council has given itself permission to go ahead. It hasn't carried out environmental surveys. The area has survived 300 years and two world wars and we are going to lose it in one fell swoop.' The council said it is within its powers to approve the new scheme.

One of the doomed buildings is The Fleece, an eighteenth-century pub which became a stomping ground for the suffrage movement, artists and writers. Osbert Sitwell, Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon were also known to the area.

Meanwhile, building has started on bdp's £270 million design for West Quay shopping centre in the centre of Southampton, where almost 75,000m2 of shops will go on a reclaimed waterfront site.

Architect Richard Rose-Casemore has designed this studio to fit into a raised garden site between two Victorian terraces in Winchester. The design respects its neighbours but on the south-east facade it offers views of the city through a full-height glazed screen which opens at the lower level on to a small courtyard. Living areas and entrance are on the mezzanine, with bedroom, bathroom and shower below. A lightweight steel frame supports the deck and roof beams; the latter are cranked to allow a continuous north-facing rooflight. The building has just started on site. Winchester City Council is monitoring the scheme's progress as a model for future use of brownfield sites.

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