Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Listed Buildings in the News

Over the past week a number of media stories have centred on Listed Buildings and the opportunities and challenges that heritage preservation creates.  Here are three examples:

Broadgate Square

The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, has today announced that Broadgate Square will not be listed despite recommendation by English Heritage (see here).  This now paves the way for Ken Shuttleworth's new office scheme which requires the demolition of two buildings in the Broadgate Estate.  Christine Murray provides an excellent editorial on English Heritage's worrying behaviour in this case (see here).  If Broadgate Square was such an important example of 1980s architecture, why did English Heritage only become vocal after planning permission had been granted?  Surely if they felt so strongly that the area warranted Grade II* listing, noises should have been made much earlier in the process.  The belated recommendations by English Heritage make them appear reactive and go against the principle of front-loading in the planning system. 

BBC Television Centre

The BBC have finally confirmed that Television Centre at Wood Lane will be sold, as reported here.  This follows the Corporation's relocation of many its services to Salford and the recent redevelopment of Broadcasting House in central London.  The move is also a reaction to the BBC's requirement to cut costs, including cutting property holdings by 20%.  Parts of Television Centre are Grade II-listed which will have to be incorporated into any redevelopment proposal.  While there has been talk about a museum or creative studios on the site, it is likely that residential development will allow the BBC to maximise their returns.  Shepherds Bush has excellent transport links and with Westfield shopping centre opposite the site is a prime housing spot.  The bidding war begins. 

Park Hill, Sheffield

Finally, The Independent reports today on the Grade II*-listed Park Hill estate in Sheffield.  The estate was the subject of a recent documentary that traced English Heritage's involvement in the redevelopment of the estate by Urban Splash.  The article questions whether the regeneration of the estate will price out working families and turn it into a 'yuppie paradise'.  As Europe's largest listed structure it is fascinating to see how the estate has been redeveloped while retaining the original concrete structure.  Whether the original social structure remains is another question.


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