Really Heady Hubris & the level of damage Big Money can inflict on a Heritage Asset
22 April 2012…..Andrew Gilligan famously accused Tony Blair of sexing up the Iraq dossiers that frightened us into believing Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could reach us in 20 minutes – so he could justify the invasion of Iraq.
He has now written a devastating piece on the restoration of the Cutty Sark and other developments within the surrounding area at historic Greenwich which you can read here:
The Cutty Sark and Greenwich are not Hove, but the parallels with all that goes wrong when politicians, bureaucrats, and big money conspire to think big and develop, are here. One reads this article and sees comparative examples of what fashionable local authority thinking got away with justifying and inflicting on this city and others. What happened to the Cutty Sark can happen anywhere these days.
Think ‘landmark architecture’ and ‘putting the city on the map’ and you are half way there. Recall to mind the hyperbole and cant that was used to justify trying to put glass penthouses on top of the Listed Old Market building. Look at the glass ‘cushion’ around the Cutty Sark and remember that something similar has planning consent to be built around the i360 as some kind of history centre remembering the now-lost West Pier or somesuch….when it gets the money to build it all. Recently BHCC decided to help that happen (with a £3m loan)! The setting of historic Regency Square along with the Metropole and Grand Hotels matters not a jot.
The i360 project will be as horrific a blot on the Brighton & Hove seafront as the ‘restored’ Cutty Sark blingfest is at Greenwich.
A Corporate Hospitality Centre (for God’s sakes!!!!) has been constructed with the ‘restored’ Cutty Sark suspended in the air above it. They used plywood and veneer to reconstruct the top deck instead of like-for-like wood. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap for the Cutty Sark. But no expense spared for the development around it. Mega-millions got spent.
Learn from this example. Gilligan seems nearly apoplectic unleashing his thunderbolt at the Cutty Sark Trust (and others). Nobody stopped it from happening and that is the bottom line.