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Design for London director frustrated by security involvement in urban design

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The new director of Design for London has spoken of his frustration at the involvement of the secret service and the cabinet office in urban design decisions in central London.


Speaking at the AJ100 Breakfast Club this morning, Peter Bishop, who has only been in his role for four weeks, said there were problems with ad hoc security decisions.

London has long been blighted by such measures - for example the large concrete slabs that have surrounded the Palace of Westminster in the years since 11 September 2001.

Recently, security experts at the Cabinet Office have dictated many of the proposals being prepared for Whitehall.

‘God help us if the Cabinet Office is commissioning security measures such as bollards in central London,’ Bishop told the AJ100 gathering.

In his newly-created role, the former Camden planning boss has been given responsibility for delivering, among other things, the World Squares and the 100 Squares for All initiatives.

It is the involvement of MI5 in the delivery of the Parliament World Square that is clearly causing him frustration.

‘The Cabinet Office make ad hoc decisions and we have to skewer a designer into the middle of it. It’s very hard. Only at the end might we might get a bit of public realm emerging,’ he said.

by Ed Dorrell

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