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Create Streets: "Want to build homes? Get local people on board"

Link to web site

"Is the fulcrum of power re-balancing between London developers, politicians and residents? Possibly. Boris is banished to the Foreign Office. Sadiq is impressively self-assured in City Hall. Edward Lister haunts the HCA. James Murray shouts ‘affordable housing’ from the rooftops. And several landmark schemes (including Bishopsgate Goodsyard and the Paddington Pole) have been pulled in the face of public revolt and political self-doubt.

"So is it a question of 'all change please' or of 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose'? Developers' websites and publicity boards certainly want you to believe that all is new and lovely. Like well-fed monks leaving the refectory, most are bloated with protestations of 'community consultation' and 'public engagement.’

"There are some welcome changes but it's nearly all hot air. The current British planning and development system is a very odd one historically and comparatively. It very imperfectly mediates between what people like and what gets built. The recent transmogrification of the Paddington Pole into the Paddington Box is a fascinating example. Forced into a rethink by overwhelming public opposition Irvine Sellar has come up with a better scheme. It cares more about Praed Street, connects East better and removes the threat of a Bayswater Shard glowering over West London. The developer has even run some carefully structured (though brief) consultation sessions.

"To read the blurb the Paddington Box would appear to be the natural consequences of such engagement. Nothing could be less true. In reality, the over-supply of London's luxury housing market has driven the change of use to commercial and the box is then a natural, greedy, attempt to maximise the space in a given site. It is nothing more than a huge glass box, spreadsheet architecture at its worst."

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