When in June Prince Charles intervened in the plans for the Chelsea Barrack site (and helped get architects Rogers Stirk Harbour so unceremoniously dumped from the project), it was strange to hear writers such as Tom Stoppard come out in support of the Prince. Perhaps, as Rowan Moore suggests in the new August issue of Prospect, Charles had touched a nerve – something is wrong with the way London is planned.
In the piece, Moore traces this shift in attitudes to urban planning in the capital, from the emphasis on maximising London’s role as a financial centre during the boom years of Ken Livingstone’s mayoral reign, to the current distate for over-scaled, high “density” projects such as One Hyde Park, which led many to back Prince Charles’s intervention. So what is to be done? Moore argues that planning authorities need to define more precisely the acceptable level of development on sites like the Chelsea Barracks before they are sold, to prevent urbanism from just being a developer’s gamble. Do you agree? Leave your comments below.