Peter Murray

 

This year’s AGM is on the horizon – date and venue to be confirmed, but likely to be the first week of July – so now is a good time to consider joining the Society’s executive committee.

All members of the Society are eligible to put themselves up for a committee role, but there are some ‘skill shortages’ that we would be keen to fill.

If you have experience in ENGINEERING or skills in PR or MARKETING, or work for a DEVELOPER or PROPERTY FIRM, or have TRUSTEE EXPERIENCE for another charity, we would love to hear from you.

If you are interested in joining the committee – whether or not you match these criteria – please email the director for more information.

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Peter Murray

 

The latest edition of ‘Planning in London’, the magazine of the London Planning and Development Forum has just been published and can be read below. (also available to download as a PDF here.)

On page 56 you can read Daniel Moylan’s piece “The Planning System is Broken Beyond Repair”, the text of his talk at the recent London Society/RTPI London debate.

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Peter Murray

 

Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures

By Roma Agrawal (Bloomsbury, £20)

Reviewed by Sarah Eley

Reviewed in the Journal of the London Society no. 473

 

Roma Agrawal’s passion for her subject, the structures that make up the built world we live in, shines through in her book. Agrawal takes us on her journey of discovery of the wonders of structural engineering, beginning with her experience of Manhattan’s towering skyscrapers, a city she visited as a child when her engineer father took up a job in the US.

Simply titled ‘Built’, Agrawal starts her book with an exploration of force and the way it flows, as this influences the form that structures take. Hand drawn illustrations, which are peppered throughout the book, keep the reader’s mind on track and help to simplify concepts.  The subsequent chapters explore the building blocks of clay, metal and rock, building up into the sky and down into the earth, tunnelling through and bridging over, and the essential delivery of clean water and the taking away of sewerage. 

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Peter Murray

 

In the latest edition of the Journal of the London Society, Mark Prizeman revisits past Journals to find out what the London Society was up to 50 and 100 years ago.

50 years ago: Greenbelts, London Estates and early thoughts for a Congestion Charge (December 1968 and March 1969)

A report on a ‘Greenbelt Drive in Surrey’ with maps and commentary given by the County planning members and Officers of the County who planned the route, concludes that: ‘Surrey is indeed to be congratulated on the beauty of its countryside and the care they are taking to preserve so much for the delight of future generations.’ A couple of visits to interesting London buildings housing other societies are noted along with a talk by Stuart Weir given to the Society on De Beauvoir Town in Hackney that is reported in full ‘by way of an experiment [as we] are only half way through our researches into the past of the area, and my talk is one way of finding out just how much we have discovered – and how interesting it is,’ part of an ongoing lecture programme on the London Estates.

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Peter Murray

 

Each year New London Architecture publishes a survey of tall buildings which are being built or will be built in the capital. This year’s figure is over 500. With so many in the pipeline today it is worth recalling the impact that the public enquiry, nearly 20 years ago, into the application to build the Heron Tower has had on planning in London. The proposals for the tower were resisted by English Heritage, supported by the Corporation of London and robustly fought for by Gerald Ronson the developer of the KPF-designed tower. The plans were called in by John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, in 2001 and following a fractious public inquiry Prescott agreed with his inspector that there was no significant harm to the setting of St Paul’s and granted it permission.

The inquiry was so costly for EH that their resistance to future developments was sorely diminished, Mayor Ken Livingstone was a keen supporter of towers and other permissions soon followed, most notably for The Shard.

The Heron Tower Inquiry was a turning point in London planning and it will be fascinating to hear the recollections of some of the key players in that saga at our meeting, held in conjunction with the Royal Town Planning Institute, on May 30th.

 

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