Tuesday, December 12, 2006

This stupid country (3)

Also from yesterday's London Evening Standard.......this time news about another stupid decision. You see the English never see the "big picture". Hardly surprising, we've people in positions of authority, who in my opinion, are small-minded, minimalist, short-termist and lacking in vision. This is certainly the case when it comes to town planning matters. Aesthetics never come into it.

Museum St, SW7

The three museums in South Kensington-The Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert - are a remarkable cluster of cultural and educational institutions. Nearby there are other buildings of considerable importance, from the Serpentine Galery in Hyde Park to the Royal Albert Hall. Yet this area is divided by busy roads-Exhibition Road and Cromwell Road-which makes it difficult to see the buildings as part of a coherent whole. It can also make it a bleaky experience for visitors.
An imaginative solution has been propsed by Kensington & Chelsea Council, Westminster Council and the Mayor. This would involve redesigning Exhibition Road and the area around to make itmlore welcoming for pedestrians. The road would lose its narrow pavements and would be redesigned with bold markings, which, it is hoped, would cause cars to travel more slowly. There would be provision for good crossings for pedestrians at major junctions and centralised bus stops and space for taxis.
Unfortunately, this scheme has been turned down for inclusion for the shortlist for the Big Lottery fund on the grounds that it concentrates too heavily on road enhancements. This misses the point, which is that the redesign is not intended to benefit motorists, but to make the whole area more accessible and to help integrate important cultural institutions into a single space. The cost, at £25 million, is reasonable. Now an appeal is to be made for £5million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with the rest made up by the Government. This eminently sensible scheme deserves support.

Of course, whether or not it gets it remains to be seen. I agree with the columns main thrust. For those of you who have visited the Spanish city of Valencia, you may have been impressed by the location of various museums and an aquatic centre, very easily accessed, in the centre of that remarkable city.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

...Aesthetics never come into it...

Charles would agree with you there, as would Bill Bryson.