City AM today claimed victory in its campaign against ‘bureaucrats’ threatening to scupper plans to demolish the Broadgate estate in the City of London.
The City of London Corporation has already approved plans to knock down the complex, which was built in the mid-1980s, to make way for a new 700,000 sq ft headquarters for investment bank UBS.
But the plan was threatened when conservation body English Heritage recommended the estate should be awarded Grade II listed status – which would have prevented its demolition – and described it as a ‘triumph of urbanism”.
During the course of its campaign City AM, which is distributed for free in and around London, received the support of several influential figures including the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the chief executive of retailer Next, Lord Wolfson.
The newspaper said that Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was today expected to reject the recommendation from English Heritage.
In a comment piece City AM editor Allister Heath said the decision was a ‘small, symbolic victory in a much bigger battle against red tape”, and described English Heritage’s bid for listed status as ‘indefensible”
‘City AM is delighted to have played a major role in demonstrating the absurdly anti-growth and anti-competitive implications of listing such a development – and to marshal the growing opposition to the decision’he said.
He added: ‘What was so infuriating about the attempt to halt the redevelopment was that it took no account of the need for growth, jobs and regeneration.
‘London’s finance hub has thrived by reinventing itself, as exemplified by the transformation of the Square Mile and the emergence of Canary Wharf; if a 26-year old office block can’t be knocked down anymore, then what next? Would everything be deemed worthy of preservation, regardless of cost?
‘Down that road lies stasis, stagnation and the transformation of a dynamic economy into a fossilised, irrelevant snapshot of a bygone age.
‘It must become easier to change and adapt to modern needs in a world where talent and capital are so footloose – not harder.’