Architectural historian Dan Cruickshank criticises plans to demolish Goodge Street building

By News Reporters

Georgian building.

Dan Cruickshank says 1-3 Goodge Street is of particular architectural and historic interest.

Dan Cruickshank the architectural historian and BBC television presenter has given his support to save a building on Goodge Street from demolition. Cruickshank has written responding to a planning application submitted to Camden Council in May which proposes the redevelopment of the corner of Goodge Street and Tottenham Court Road. The application proposes the almost total demolition, leaving only the facade, of 1-3 Goodge Street which is believed to be the oldest building on the street and is an important part of the Charlotte Street conservation area.

In a letter seen by Fitzrovia News, Cruickshank says that he has long been an admirer of the terraces in and around Goodge Street. He writes: “Many of these buildings, particularly in Goodge Street itself, have been much undervalued.”

According to Cruickshank, 1-3 Goodge Street is “of particular architectural and historic significance”. The historian who is a recognised expert on Georgian architecture writes in praise of the building which was part of an eighteenth-century development undertaken by Francis and William Goodge with the builder and architect Jacob Leroux.

Cruickshank judges the exterior of the building to be built in 1780 and describes the brickwork “as largely original although much patched and repaired”.

But most of his attention concerns the interior of the building which is under threat of total demolition.

“It should be the aim of all with an interest in, or control over, the Goodge Street area to protect, recover and enhance its important architectural and historic character. And this character is formed not just by the surviving elevations but also by early and interesting interior details and plan-forms. It is obvious that historic buildings are more than just facades, more than just stage sets,” he writes.

“[It is] not acceptable to destroy an historic interior — especially one that appears to be largely or significantly Georgian. In my opinion 1-3 Goodge Street should be listed and its interior retained. I note that this, broadly, was the opinion of the Inspector in August 2007, following an inquiry undertaken by the Planning Inspectorate,” he writes.

Cruickshank concludes by saying: “I find it extraordinary that a building of this age, quality and authenticity, that is on Camden’s local list of buildings of historic and architectural interest and which is acknowledged to play a key role in an important conservation area, should be threatened with near complete demolition. The retention of the facades is not enough when so much original and early interior fabric and detail remain and Camden Council must surely make it clear that it will not grant conservation area consent for the current proposal to 1-3 Goodge Street.”

The historian based his assessment on two sets of photographs of the inside of the building including those supplied by the owner. Access to inspect the building has been refused by the owner on health and safety grounds.

Camden Council is likely to consider the application at a planning meeting on 23 August 2012.

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