“Someone described the area as a little oasis in Fitzrovia, and we would not want to change that. We are a property company with sensitivities. We want to get rid of the idea that we will come in and knock everything down.” — Simon Silver of Derwent London (interview with property press, November 2009).
A building on Charlotte Street and three buildings on Berners Street — all flattened — and more demolition to come would suggest that Derwent London have not been telling the gullible property media the full gospel about their intentions.
But it is not just Derwent. They are all at it. Exemplar, who demolished the Time Out building on Tottenham Court Road, Dukelease who demolished the oldest building on Goodge Street including the facade (accidentally) and will demolish then build a horrendous development in a tiny street; and UCLH and their naughty sibling UCLH Charity both of whom have treated architecture and hospital staff with the utmost contempt.
Fitzrovia is not a pretty sight. It’s not just the usual suspects that have had enough of it, everyone else has had their fair share of noise, dust and disruption, while a handful of property developers squeeze as much exchange value as they can out of what was a Georgian streetscape.
Time to take stock of what’s going on and put it all into some perspective.
Join me for a Fitzrovia Festival special — a guided trek around the neighbourhood to see how the buildings, residential community and whole neighbourhood is undergoing rapid change. Find out about Crossrail, parasites of the housing crisis, public relations companies, and even a few who should know better.
Learn about the connection between Derwent London, Dukelease Properties, and Camden Council, with the destruction of the oldest building on Goodge Street.
Find out more about Exemplar’s huge development at the centre of the neighbourhood and where else their greedy tentacles are entwined.
And what’s going in Cleveland Street with Westminster City Council’s nasty Tories?
Why do we refer to Camden Council as “Useless Camden”?
Discover why not enough affordable housing and public open space is being delivered, why there is a business improvement district (BID) in this the strangest of London barrios, and why does a hospital charity dump its staff on the streets.
If you live in, work in, or visit Fitzrovia, or thinking of living here, this is an essential guide to the ruins of a well-loved neighbourhood.
The Derwent Dystopia: Guided walk and talk — 12pm Saturday 27 June 2015. Meet outside Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre, 39 Tottenham Street, London W1T 4RX. Free. Walk will last about two hours with a coffee stop along the way. Based on Fitzrovia News investigations.