Excuse my blatant argumentativeness today, not that I apologise for the views expressed therein, but I'm stuck at home unwell and bored.
I am, however, deeply curious. Between one thing and another it seems that all people do here about any new developments is complain. What is it that people who frequent this forum actually want? Do they have a vision for what should be here? Are there any things that they desperately want to be built? If they are commercial how do they expect them to be made viable? If they are non commercial how do they expect them to be funded?
I don't want half answers here. I want coherent ideas that are practicable and affordable. If they can't answer the viability or affordability question. I want them to tell me why they think they won't work and what needs to happen to make them work.
I have a big wish list myself. As a non car owner, a decently stocked supermarket within walking distance that isn't Tesco would be a start. It needn't be some sort of hyperstore with hundreds of parking spaces, just a reasonably sized, reasonably stocked supermarket. I'll forgo price here even. However, without a lot more people living around here, especially ones whose idea of diet does not involve oven chips and ready meals as basics, or a lot more businesses. I can't begin to imagine how such a thing would be viable.
Incidentally, does anyone know where I can buy some diced lamb on a Saturday around here other than at the inflated, tourist class prices at Borough Market.
I think the strategy currently in place in SE1 - lots of regeneration and ambitious new builds (including skyscrapers) - is spot on. This is a very central part of a major international city and standing still is not an option, lest other parts of the city become more attractive and businesses and people move.
One thing that I find increasingly frustrating is the complaint that developers are greedy. We live in a capitalist, profit/shareholder driven economy. Developers are there to make money and you cannot level criticism at them for that. What we need is skilled, knowledgeable planners who can evaluate schemes solely on their merits and act as a counter- Balance to the developers.
I've also seen a lot of criticsm recently that whatever is being built is for 'rich' people. I'm not quite sure what 'rich' means nowadays, but, again, we live in a market economy and developers will built whatever there is demand for. If anything it's the lack of progress in building new developments that keeps prices high as it starves the market of stock.
Within the new development which is the Blue Fin building on Southwark St is a 'Starbucks '. Can I ask what the 'demand' is for that in this area given as there are already three in the immediate area?
I'd like to believe that the 'market' could accommodate the needs of local people with the inclusion of a butcher's, fishmonger's, fruit and veg market, laundry, etc which would service those that actually live here and which serve to function as cohesive indentifiers of a community still very much alive but of course I recognise that such thinking is merely folly on my part, as the area isn't deemed to 'need' these things following a strict interpretation of 'redevelopment' criteria set by those seeking to increase their profit margins.
You can't blame the developers for the explosion of chains like Starbucks . Developers make commercial space available at a market rent and then whoever comes along prepared to pay that rent gets the space.
I'd be interested to know how Bermondsey St. has managed to achieve such a mix of individual shops, to the exclusion of the chains...
[quote cholmondeley]In haste - An enlightened landlord can simply mandate 'no chain stores' foregoing immediate profit for higher values later - cf Marylebone High St.[quote]
But Marylebone is owned almost solely by the Howard de Walden estate...in SE1 most land is privately owned/sold off to individual developers which means that there is no central control of which retailers go where.
Chris, you for me have identified some of the problems spot on. I'm not sure about the obsession with lots of skyscrapers that seems to infest some development proposals though. I love tall buildings. I adore them. I think they can add real character and a sense of place to a city. I also think that it is undeniable that the ones being proposed today are so vastly architecturally superior to those proposed and built in London in the past that they bear no comparison and I think that many have a deeply ingrained prejudice of tall buildings in this city and the country as a whole because of this.
My problem with the proposals we see around SE1 and London in general is that the emphasis is entirely wrong. There is this strange hang up in my mind with historic vistas and little thought put into the ones we are creating. These are the ones that most of us will see unless we happen to visit some place infested with tourists and cameras.
It's a fact that no one has sat down and looked at the whole thing as a three dimensional construct and tried to work out what will inevitably become a man made chain of hills or mountains actually looks as a whole. Instead, we seem to have these randomly located high buildings and a skyline that is designed to be viewed from about 3 places around it- Greenwich Park and Primrose Hill being the big ones. If you look from anywhere else it will look awful - like granny green teeth after major dental surgery and before she's had her dentures fitted.
I wish I knew the answer to the local shopping issue. Despite all the crowing about rich 'Arabs' and all the rest it's a lot easier to find a decent grocer where I used to work on Edgware Road, the epicentre of Arab London, than around here. I suspect that I'm pinning for the sort of things I used to know, but I guess that the loss of these here is just a reflection of what's happening everywhere, but accelerated by the lack of customers who live here and shop here during the week. Doing that is a luxury that I can't afford. I'm therefore forced to shop at weekends and there increasingly seems precious little open then.
[quote carmenes82][quote cholmondeley]In haste - An enlightened landlord can simply mandate 'no chain stores' foregoing immediate profit for higher values later - cf Marylebone High St.[quote]
But Marylebone is owned almost solely by the Howard de Walden estate...in SE1 most land is privately owned/sold off to individual developers which means that there is no central control of which retailers go where.[/quote]
I really do not know what fantasy land some people inhabit where they can dictate what shops are where. Planning law is very restricted here. It makes no differentiation between Fortnum and Mason and Tesco and Costcutter or Starbuck's or Top Shop or Waterstone's or Lunn Poly or that nice Polish Shop in E&C shopping centre.