Let me introduce you to the plan for London’s latest eyesore – the slab | Simon Jenkins

For 15 years outsize developments have been making a mess of the Thames – and this South Bank scheme is among the worst I could not imagine that London might inflict any more visual damage to the Thames than it has already done. No city on earth has made such a mess of its river. But one of its biggest and most aggressive office blocks has just been approved on the South Bank in the heart of the capital. The slab – or rather tower and slab – that was approved by Lambeth council in March is to loom over the National Theatre opposite Somerset House. Its bulk will dominate every river view. The slab replaces the old ITV headquarters and is a behemoth in comparison. It will be more than twice the height of the neighbouring National Theatre. On the horizon it will be more prominent than St Paul’s or the Houses of Parliament. It is massive. The erection of such a building is patently an issue of civic if not national importance. It is inconceivable that central Paris or Rome would tolerate such an intrusion. Yet it has been approved on the say-so of just six members of Lambeth’s planning committee. They guiltily admitted it was likely to be “controversial and extremely unpopular” but justified it as “creating over 4,000 jobs”. Simon Jenkins is a Guardian columnist Continue reading...

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