When it comes to preserving the old ways from being abused, various people (yes, Andrew and Simon, I’m talking to you) pointed to Boris as the man to stop a nasty rash of ugly tall buildings scarring the London skyline, an accolade he’s been somewhat over-anxious to claim, to the point of, um, not telling the whole truth. What, then, to make of the implementation of this in recent weeks? Well, the Queen’s Market tower was given the totemic bum’s rush, but that’s a Labour council. Over in Tory Ealing, of coure, a public inquiry into the Boris-backed Arcadia redevelopment has recently concluded, as meticulously followed from the anti side on this blog.

Meanwhile in Croydon, where Boris is appearing in another of his Not-The-People’s-Question-Time this Wednesday they can’t make their minds up – first Boris OK‘s the scheme, now the local Tory council have got cold feet, possibly as a result of the effect of NIMBYism on the local electoral situation. Amazing what a few marginal seats can do. Of course it would be churlish to point out that Ealing and Hammersmith councils in particular changed hands in 2006 partly because of local opposition to the planned West London Tram and that what comes around, goes around – Dave Hill points out that Croydon itself has tram issues that may come back to haunt Boris:

Another possible source of aggravation is his decision to mothball the proposed Tramlink extension to Crystal Palace – a project that would certainly have helped the local economy and, unlike the towers, commanded widespread local support.

Still, Croydon’s tower u-turn can at a pinch be waved away as listening to the boroughs, and only whinging lefties like us and Dave will mention the tram. Ealing, on the other hand, is a more serious affair, since the local council is dead set on Glenkerrin’s tower, Boris agrees with them but the public inquiry was ordered by, er, Hazel Blears. There’s local democracy for you. Still, if Boris is having difficulty understanding all of this in-and-out running from the boroughs, he can get expert legal advice from the eminent Russell Harris QC, who:

… has appeared in almost all of the recent Tall Building inquiries and has developed a special expertise in presenting cases involving world class architects and architecture. Thus, Russell has successfully acted for the developers of “The Shards of Glass” by Renzo Piano, the Heron Tower, by Lee Polisano, The Minerva Tower by Nicolas Grimshaw, 20 Fenchurch Street by Rafael Vinoly, The Beetham Tower Blackfriars by Ian Simpson and Founder’s Place by Sir Terry Farrell.

Boris doesn’t even have to go far – when he isn’t appearing at public inquiries on the behalf of developers (including at Arcadia), Mr. Harris is, just as in previous administrations, assisting the GLA on planning matters, to the tune [PDF] of :

RUSSELL HARRIS Legal Fees 4,485.00

in May 2009 and even

RUSSELL HARRIS,Legal Fees,”6,462.50″

in December 2008. Surely such an eminent and expensively rewarded expert in the field could sort things out for the poor boy, particularly now Ian Clement is no longer on the scene. Harris was rather rude about him a while back, and it could have caused an upsetting scene.

Tagged with:
Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.