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Artist Emin drops controversial Chipperfield-designed plans

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Artist Tracey Emin has dropped her attempt to demolish a locally listed building in Spitalfields and replace it with a new studio designed by David Chipperfield Architects

A planning inspector had been due in February to hear two appeals against the council’s refusal of the scheme (see AJ 08.02.16), along with its failure to determine it within statutory time limits.

However, it has emerged that planning consultants acting for Emin wrote to the planning inspectorate during the summer to formally withdraw the appeals.

Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage says: ‘Great care was taken to design this delightful, modest building on Bell Lane to blend with the traditional scale of the narrow streets around it.

‘Just a few hundred metres away from the office towers of the City, the historic streets in this area buzz with life thanks to their human scale - in spite of intense development pressures. We are delighted that the building has been reprieved.’

Emin had lodged plans with London Borough of Tower Hamlets to build a workspace in a conservation area, along with new bedrooms on top of her neighbouring house.

It would have seen the demolition of 66-68 Bell Lane, built in 1927 and the smallest housing scheme known to have been built by Stepney Borough Council during the interwar period.

Turning the scheme down, councillors had acknowledged that the Chipperfield scheme was a ‘carefully considered scheme of high design quality’ and that it ‘plays very considerable attention to its detailing and choice of materials’.

However, a report by council planners said: ‘In conclusion, the proposals would fail to meet the statutory requirement to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area and would not comply with national or local planning policies relating to conservation of the built environment.’


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Readers' comments (1)

  • If the proposal was seen as a 'carefully considered scheme of high design quality' then what does that say about the overall standards by which design quality is judged? It's all very well dealing with commodity and firmness, but in this case delight seems to have come a very poor third.

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