A local pub near where I live is about to vanish under the weight of a 200-metre tall tower if planning permission is granted, and the developers are holding a public consultation on their proposals. It was this which had me wandering over to The Marriot hotel in Canary Wharf to see what was going on.

The exhibition is actually just a series of poster boards – which are duplicated on their website, plus the usual wooden model of the area. The block of flats where I live should have been on the model, but it seems an accident had occurred and all that was left was a smudge of glue where the little wooden block had been earlier. Oh 🙁

The plans are slightly controversial, as the pub which sits on the land is “much loved” by locals so there has been a bit of a media fuss over its demolition. I haven’t actually been in the pub, and my local is more likely to be a coffee shop nowadays than a pub – so I am slightly ambivalent about the project.

The developers go to some lengths to point out that it was designed by Norman Foster – or more likely, one of his staff as it lacks any particular architectural features which would make it a signature building.

Anyhow – it seems nice enough, and the plans do include a replacement pub on the ground floor, so the whinges from some parts of the local community should be assuaged.

The controversy is heightened by the fact that when the land was brought earlier this year, the developers said that they were “in no hurry” to do anything with it – and in the current economic climate, pushing ahead with a new residential tower might seem odd. I am speculating, but there is another tower block going up right next to the site at the moment, and if planning permission is requested now – the sole objector would be a company seeking to protect its profit margins. Run the same proposal in a couple of years time though – and you could have 300 plus angry voters objecting to the plans instead.

Best to get it out of the way before they move in next door then.

The only suggestion I would (and indeed, will) make is that an extension of the foot tunnel from Jubilee Place to the planned Herron Quays West development on the other side of the road could be extended a tiny bit further to the new tower and a public entrance provided. That would be a huge boon in the winter months for commuters walking to the tube station.

The exhibition is open tomorrow (Saturday) until 2pm – but you can see most of it on their website (link dead, remove).

Incidentally – their website was once owned by a Gloucester rock band of the same name.


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