This week, the case against Heathrow is nailed, a beer is launched specially for architects, a ballet school is a pas de deux or two away from expansion, and the burghers of Mayfair get sniffy about affordable housing
What has got Mayfair’s swanky Goring hotel in a tizz? The hotel has written to Westminster council claiming a proposed affordable housing scheme that would overlook its back garden “represents a real threat to the hotel’s livelihood”. The application constitutes the affordable housing provision of Grosvenor Estate and Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels’ redevelopment of nearby 1-5 Grosvenor Place into luxury flats and a Peninsula hotel. The Goring has expressed concerns about overlooking, light pollution, window dressing and noise pollution. Meanwhile, local residents have said they will support the application so long as the property is not used to “house lower standard affordable or social housing occupants,” but have questioned why “the affordable housing is not being provided on-site as part of the redevelopment of 1-5 Grosvenor Place”.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg (who he?) has waded into the seemingly never-ending saga that is London’s airport expansion debate. He is backing Gatwick over Heathrow. Writing in the Evening Standard, Clegg said that despite the Davies Commission choosing Heathrow earlier this year he believes the economic case is more “ambivalent” than the commission suggested. He argues it will be cheaper to build at Gatwick than Heathrow and that Gatwick has a more unpopulated site so it will be far quicker to build. He also claims that should Cameron back Heathrow, he “will have
to endure the tousle haired indignation of Boris Johnson and the doe-eyed sanctimony of Zac Goldsmith” - which is probably the best argument for Gatwick mounted so far.
The London planning system has put another nose out of joint this week. The London Russian Ballet School has had its £4.5m dance school expansion plans thrown out. The dance school had wanted to demolish a garage and kitchen and dig a 2,000ft2 basement to create studios at its base in Clapham. Lambeth councillors felt the risks to the conservation area on Clapham Manor Street were more substantial than the public benefit. The school now intends to appeal the decision.
The Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre (KÉK) in Budapest has just brewed and launched its own type of beer, the C10, to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The IPA-style beer, I’m told, offers a “unique surprise to its audience, patrons and founders”. Presumably this is because it’s nothing like what the architect said it would be like in the initial pitch. The Hungarians have also designed special concrete beer mats for the ale. The website says the C10 is “the first beer for architects” - though I rather think architects were drinking the stuff long before KÉK came along.
A league of their own
Hot shot cost consultant Alinea is not satisfied simply advising people how much their buildings should cost. Oh no. It turns out Alinea’s staff are also pretty good at football. They have got in touch to inform us they have won their five-a-side league, pipping the bombastically named Megafootballsupertrons 2-0 in the final match to claim the title. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Alinea will surely have to be on its toes to ward off a Champions League club coming in and nabbing their best players. You have been warned.
In a bit of a jam
Oh the irony. Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Lord Adonis, was forced to miss a press briefing on a report on the public’s view of infrastructure after becoming stuck in traffic. Adonis had been due to launch the report at the event in Westminster, London, but was said to be running late after falling victim to the capital’s clogged up infrastructure. Commission member Sir John Armitt was also at the event, and told the hacks in attendance that Adonis would be “about 10 to 15 minutes late”. The briefing finished an hour later, at which point Adonis still hadn’t arrived. Let’s hope the same problems aren’t still in evidence after he’s been in the job for 10 years.