London is already the greenest capital in Europe, with homeowners enjoying more than 600 garden squares. And the good news is that there are more to come, reports David Spittles
"Garden squares are one of London’s architectural blessings and their enduring charm continues to strike a chord with homebuyers. The capital has about 600 squares, many of them in the poshest parts of town — Belgravia, Chelsea and Kensington — where only key-holding private residents have access.
"Canny landed estates, such as Grosvenor, realised centuries ago that elegant, formally laid out squares provide a sense of neighbourhood and exclusivity that underpins property values. Inspired by their example, today’s developers and architects are embracing squares, knowing they will add value to new homes and boost their scheme’s green credentials.
"New public squares are key in housing-led urban regeneration schemes.
"Architect Rod Sheard, designer of the main stadium at the Olympic Park in Stratford, said extensive public space around East Village, the residential element, was one of the planning priorities:
“Towns used to be built around squares where folk would meet for proclamations and civic events — squares were the town’s [sic] beating heart.”
"New homes are even being created at some of London’s historic garden squares. A scheme of 36 prestige apartments are nearing completion at 2 Hyde Park Square, around the corner from the Blairs’ home at Connaught Square."
|Link to web site (January 2012)|
Evening Standard: "Olympic Park homes 'boring, mercenary and lacking in vision'"
"In an embarrassing blow to the Olympic Park Legacy Company, charged with ensuring the event produces a lasting benefit for London, its 25-year housebuilding programme has been condemned as boring, mercenary and lacking in vision.
"Clive Dutton, head of regeneration, planning and property at Newham council, delivered a stinging attack on the proposals.
"In a letter to Vivienne Ramsey, head of development control at the Olympic Delivery Authority, which will rule on the plans this summer, he claims the proposals 'lack vision' and will resemble a 'large housing estate' which 'fails to excite or enthuse'.
"The council is calling for more employment opportunities, educational facilities, and public transport for the site."