Tower Thistle Hotel
Hold planners accountable for architecture that blights our lives, argues Matthew Parris
Architects and planners responsible for bad schemes should be publicly shamed, according to the writer and broadcaster Matthew Parris.
Poor architecture and urban design blights lives and those responsible should be held to account, he argues in his column in the Times today.
His outburst was prompted by TV coverage of the Queen’s diamond jubilee river pageant in which the former Tower Thistle Hotel beside Tower Bridge featured prominently.
Parris said the 1970s brutalist building “disfigured the record” and that the man who granted planning should be outed for the “concrete crime”.
His column is illustrated with a mocked-up Blue Plaque bearing the words: “John Hume, 1922-1987, granted planning permission for the Guoman Hotel (formerly the Tower Thistle) in 1970”.
Hume was borough architect and planning officer in Tower Hamlets in the 1960s and 1970s, so was also in post when Robin Hood Gardens was approved.
Parris, a former Tory MP who presents the Great Lives series on Radio 4, wrote: “Stigma ought to attach to bad planning decisions and personal shame ought to attach to heartless architecture.
“Particular human beings make decisions that shape a townscape that will affect millions.
“Their deliberations should be inhabited by a keen sense that they will not be anonymous, and that their own names and reputations are at stake.”
The Times’s daily print circulation is 350,000.
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