Tory Council Retreats on 'Thames Blight' Plan after Boris Steps In

The Evening Standard (London, England), December 16, 2011 | Go to article overview

Tory Council Retreats on 'Thames Blight' Plan after Boris Steps In


Byline: Peter Dominiczak, Ross Lydall and Lucy Osborne

DAVID CAMERON'S favourite Tory council has been humiliated into a retreat over its plan to redevelop Hammersmith town hall after a dramatic intervention by the Mayor.

Boris Johnson today said he was "glad that common sense has prevailed" after Hammersmith & Fulham council rowed back on its application to construct 290 flats and a council building overlooking the Thames.

Thousands of residents, including actress Vanessa Redgrave, expressed anger at the plan, which would have required the demolition of Hammersmith's only cinema and the eviction of blind residents from a sheltered housing block. They were concerned that the height of the apartment blocks in King Street would blight a stretch of the river that has escaped the "canyonisation" seen in nearby Putney and Battersea.

A City Hall source today said the Mayor told council chiefs he would not let the plan go ahead because it breached planning rules, adding: "After intense discussions with Mr Johnson, they agreed to withdraw the application."

The project was opposed by 38 residents' associations, English Heritage and 8,500 residents who signed a petition -- including actors Joely Richardson, Ralph Fiennes and Dame Sheila Hancock, director Sir Trevor Nunn and artist Sir Peter Blake. …

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