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Suburban mansion blocks could safeguard London's skyline, campaign claims

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London’s historic skyline could be safeguarded by building mansion blocks in the city’s suburbs, a lobby group has urged.

This policy measure, among several others, was proposed by Barbara Weiss of the Skyline Campaign, at a public meeting hosted by charity Open-City this week.

Weiss used the campaign’s first public event to attack a string of tall buildings planned for the city, including the Shell Centre and the Walkie Talkie.

Tall buildings planned for the Shell Centre would create an ‘incredibly dense’ development whose ‘canyons’ between buildings would leave ‘very little light’ on the streets, she said.

And the Walkie Talkie was now ‘photo bombing’ Tower Bridge from some angles, marring views of the historic bridge.

‘We are not against towers’ she told the audience ‘A lot of [our supporters] are registered architects,’ she added. ‘We are against badly designed buildings in the wrong location.

‘We feel that the centre of London isn’t the best place to build them and we are very concerned about the quality of them.’

‘Why are we making the centre denser when there are suburbs which are under-dense?’

According to Weiss, some 100,000 homes could be built in mansion blocks of up to seven storeys on sites along A-roads that run into the city.

As the campaign approached its second anniversary, Weiss indicated it would extend well beyond May’s mayoral elections, as candidates had offered poor or no support to the campaign’s ideas, which include a moratorium on tall buildings in the centre of the city.

‘The best news is that [the incumbent mayor] Boris [Johnson] is leaving,’ she added. ‘Boris [Johnson] has obviously taken great pleasure in approving things that everyone doesn’t want.’ Despite the lack of support from the current and prospective mayoral candidates, Weiss says the campaign had picked up pace and support as increasing numbers of Londoners witnessed the city’s surge in tall buildings.

‘There is definitely a feeling that there is a change in the tide. People [previously] couldn’t figure out what we were talking about but now, unfortunately, many towers are coming out of the ground.’


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