Friday, March 21, 2008

Aesthetic Control

...landscape works to existing park including: removal of existing hard surfacing, furniture and railings, tree felling, thinning of existing shrubs, removal of some existing planting, new macadam footpaths, new seating & new shrub and perennial planting.

So, sometime between 10 July and 23 October 2007, between the two occasions when you stop by to capture video, they appear: concrete spherical objects of various sizes, decorated occasionally with leaf motifs.

The applicants have provided indicative details of the type of concrete seating/stepping stones which are proposed to be installed. The design of these has not been finalised and will be the subject of a planning condition. However their size as gauged from the submitted examples is considered acceptable.

Seating/stepping stones? You try to sit on one: cold, uncomfortable, you wouldn’t want to sit here for long and you certainly can’t step on them.

It is intended that thinning out the vegetation and removing the fencing will open up the park and reduce its attractiveness to drinkers who allegedly congregate there.

So super strength topplers then, White Lightning upsetters, inebriate unbalancers, there’s nowhere to sit, nowhere to stretch out and sleep out of public view, the drinkers can’t use the space and no-one else can. Thank you, you think.

It has been confirmed by the Metropolitan Police that the proposal will be likely to increase usage of the park thereby will help reduce fear of crime.

Design based on fear, of the perception of a threat, the aesthetics of paranoia.

The overall layout and design of the park is considered acceptable and no objection is raised to the proposed lettering and areas of landscaping/hard surfacing.

Perhaps the lettering is not objectionable in itself, but the inscription tells you that the place has been rewritten as a transient rhetorical space - not a ‘non-place’ or loose space but one from which you can only leave - a “move along please” space. The local authority has created a highly determined space, they expect you to find your own way, they even write it on the path and then they tell you where to go: not here.

Cited text from Southwark Council’s recommendations after application for planning approval.
Applicant: Mr J Sheaff, London Borough of Southwark

Reg. Number: 06-CO-0125

Application Type: Council's Own Development - Reg. 3 (Council's Own Development)

Recommendation: Grant

Case Number: TP/1120-137

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