This week, workers are left red faced by a builder’s crack, a developer takes the uncertainty out of the EU vote, Black Cab drivers proffer a rare opinion, and a nightclub makes a hullabaloo about development plans
Health and safety goes livid
Construction workers on the £1.4bn superhospital in Montreal, Canada were left red faced after downing tools having seen a “crack” in a steel beam on one of the floors - only to later discover that not only did it pose no danger, but it was actually made that way on purpose. The FTQ Construction union said workers had walked away from the site for over 24 hours due to “legitimate safety concerns”. But information from the beam’s manufacturer, Canam-Bâtiments, showed that the beam was produced with partial vertical cuts to allow better installation. It also complied with Canadian building regulations.
The possibility of a Brexit has much of the market in deadlock with many plans being postponed or delayed until the vote on 23 June. However, developer Oakmayne, which is building at Two Fifty One Southwark Bridge Road - a 41-storey tower comprising 335 flats in London due for completion in 2018 - is offering buyers a money-back guarantee if they don’t like the way the vote goes. Director David Humbles says: “If they don’t like the result, whichever way it goes, they will have the right to withdraw and their reservation fee will be refunded in full.” The tower will also be home to a cinema club, gym, glazed winter gardens and a business and homeworking lounge. Presumably, the flats will be full either of Remain supporters or of Brexiteers. Guess there won’t be an in-building debating society on offer, then.
Work, rest and clay
The Now Gallery at Greenwich Peninsula has commissioned The People’s Brick Company - created by arts and architecture practice Something & Son - to develop a communal artwork. Londoners are invited to participate every weekend from 24 June to 4 August in making their own brick from clay dug up from the peninsula, which was used as a brickfield site in the 19th century. The bricks will be on display during the summer in the gallery as they dry out, then fired in a kiln for a public celebration on 17 September and made into a permanent folly.
Well, if you ask me …
Elsewhere in the capital the indomitable black cabbies of London have decided to rise up in defiance of developers. They have joined forces with residents around Westbourne Park, where the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association’s HQ is based, to fight a proposed 15-storey tower by Meadow Partners. The association has floated a blimp in Westbourne Park to show the height of the tower, which will overshadow local residents who are also worried that the new building will block access to the Grand Union Canal.
The Blacklist Support Group, fresh from the High Court, has revealed that a singer songwriter called Sean Taylor has written a campaign song for them. The song - Blacklist Number 1 - is to become the movement’s anthem. Dave Smith, secretary of the group, said: “The song is about the blacklisting scandal in the UK construction industry but it will quickly become an anthem wherever workers are victimised for standing up for their rights. Expect to hear the instantly sing-along chorus on picketlines from the US and Australia to South Africa. It’d make a great soundtrack in a film.”
Making a noise
The prime resi market has faced a new blow after Brixton’s night clubbers successfully challenged Lambeth council’s approval to turn Club 414 into luxury flats and boutiques. Market Row Ltd, which owns the site, won planning permission last autumn despite the council receiving over 400 objections to the plans. Brixton’s oldest nightclub now faces a wait to see if it will be permanently rescued after the application was returned by the High Court to the council for reconsideration. This is not the first time the residents of Brixton have faced down developers. In 2011 Brixton Market was saved from redevelopment after the site won listed status. However, hipster cafes have encroached and replaced the market traders.
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