Rogers design not sustainable

Wednesday 05 Aug 2009

'Excessive bulk' of British Museum extension doesn't pass Camden Council sustainability standards

Camden Council in London last month put paid to Richard Rogers' current design for the extension to the British Museum by refusing planning permission. Now, almost two weeks on, they have released their reasoning behind the decision and advise: "The proposed alterations to the listed building are considered harmful to its special architectural and historic interest and the merits of the scheme are not considered to outweigh this harm."

With a weighting of just 5 to 4 members of the panel, the application was refused and the reasons given cite the design's 'excessive bulk' as a contributing factor in the decision as well as the absence of several legal agreement particularly relating to sustainable measures including tree replanting, and securing pedestrian and environmental improvements to prevent an increase in un-sustainable transport use.

"The proposed development, in the absence of a legal agreement requiring for the development to achieve a BREEAM rating of 'very good' and for the sustainability measures detailed for the north-west development and the site wide energy strategy, would fail to be sustainable in its use of resources," reads the report advising that this is contrary to the council's energy policies.

While Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners advised they would not comment on the matter, the British Museum advised of their disappointed in the decision releasing a statement saying: "We thought we had made a compelling case which drew a balance between our responsibility to our great buildings, the historic environment, the Museum’s collection and the public benefits that would flow from this scheme. The case was supported by English Heritage and CABE, and had been recommended for approval by Camden officers.

We regret that the members of Camden Council’s Development Control Committee, by a majority of one, chose not to grant planning permission for the proposed development. The need for the benefits the scheme would provide has not gone away."

Now upon delivery of the formal reasons for refusal, the British Museum will consider their next steps for the scheme.

Niki May Young
News Editor

Key Facts:

United Kingdom
Civic Buildings

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