July 28 2014 Latest news:
by Rory Brigstock-Barron
Thursday, July 17, 2014
A third architect’s plans for the Royal Mail’s much-maligned Mount Pleasant project have surfaced just a week after a community group put forward its alternative vision for the site.
Architect Pascal Madoc-Jones first sketched his idea for the land off Farringdon Road more than two years ago when it became clear the former sorting office would be used for housing.
Mr Madoc-Jones, director of Madoc Architecture, in Goswell Road, said the high-rise design being considered by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, would not fit in with the rest of the area and was too similar to other housing projects springing up across London. He also criticised community group the Mount Pleasant Association’s (MPA) alternative, “Mount Pleasant Circus”, which was published in an attempt to sway Royal Mail away from its design, as “too crowded”.
Mr Madoc-Jones said: “I came up with the design a few years ago when I had this idea for an updated version of the terraced house which contains a garage or a granny flat.
“What I was trying to do was prove a point by taking a piece of central London and applying this model.
“It’s an area of houses rather than massive blocks of flats. What we’re ending up with in London now is lots and lots of the same old high- rise flats.”
While describing the Circus as “a nice idea”, but Madoc-Jones said it would make the housing too crowded and there would not be enough light for the houses with windows on the narrow streets.
“What I find interesting is that neither scheme has started out on the basis of exploring the sort of normal street we all want to live on,” he said.
“The open space each scheme creates is space left over after the buildings have been planned.”
Mr Johnson is expected to make a decision on Royal Mail’s plans for the site this summer while the MPA met with the group for the first time last week as it continues to try and foster a role for itself in the future of the site.
Both Islington South MP, Emily Thornberry, and the MPA have written to the Communities Minister, Eric Pickles, and the GLA following comments from the mayor that suggested he was “impartial” and in which he grossly overestimated the number of homes the scheme would provide.
Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said: “How can we have confidence in Boris making this decision when he and his people can’t even get the simple facts right?
“I think any reasonable person who has heard his comments can see he has already made up his mind.”
RMG are yet to secure a developer for the site.