Moggridge Fights for Classic London Views

HAL Moggridge OBE, landscape architect and LPGT Patron, is raising a standard for Londoners in their struggle to stop classic sight lines in their city being obliterated by development.

London from Greenwich (JMW Turner 1809)

JMW Turner's painting, London from Greenwich, exhibited in 1809.

The scene today.

Canary Wharf from Greenwich

Currently ten sight lines to St Paul's Cathedral from around the capital enjoy legal protection. The 10-mile view from Richmond Park is one of the most celebrated; other protected views of St Paul's include those from Hampstead and Greenwich. St Paul's was once the tallest building in London.

The future of the sightlines has been called into question by a document published by the Mayor of London's Office, entitled the London View Management Framework. Mayor Ken Livingstone is an outspoken advocate of very tall buildings. The draft Framework, published earlier this year, proposes an extension of the number of protected city views to 26; but, at the same time, the mayor wants to narrow protected viewing corridors. The view of St Paul's from Hampstead Heath would be narrowed from four times the width of the dome on either side to a half-width under the mayor's plans. The view of the cathedral from Greenwich would be cut to a narrow slot and the view of St Paul's from Richmond Park, known as Henry VIII's view, would be halved in width. The vista in Richmond Park is from King Henry's mound in the grounds of Pembroke Lodge, from where the Cathedral can be glimpsed ten miles distant through a gap in the foliage.

To support his campaign, Hal Moggridge, planning adviser to the Royal Parks on tall buildings, has recently published Poetic Views in Central London ENDANGERED. In this he shows which famous views will be unprotected under the mayor's plans. In addition to the St Paul's view lines Moggridge wants much wider bands of protection given to views of the City skyline from Westminster, Waterloo and Hungerford Bridges.

The City Corporation also opposes the Livingstone proposals. The City's planning officer, Mr Peter Rees, said: "If they [the mayor's advisers] say they are not going to change the protected views, that is not true. They are narrowing them to mere slots in some cases".

The consultation period has ended and definitive proposals will be published shortly. The draft document can be accessed via http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/strategies/sds/spg-views.jsp