'OUTRAGE' AT ST. PAUL'S SIR,—May we add to the many
protests already made concerning the projected buildings round St. Paul's Cathedral. It is difficult to believe that any respon- sible and competent public body could have planned and supported the erection of the building at present under construction and at a time when all thinking people are becoming increasingly concerned about vandalism throughout the country.
In our view no effort should be spared to stop this outrage to history and good taste. It is a national disgrace that St. Paul's Cathedral should be dese- crated by an unlet office block the result of which will be to deny to millions a beautiful setting and vista for Sir Christopher Wren's great masterpiece. The danger and impending disaster is far worse than we have seen so far. The developers intend, it appears, to erect more buildings and even closer to the Cathedral.
The purpose of our letter is to implore all who have a sense of dignity and beauty: (a) To write to their Members of Parliament. The Minister of Housing, Sir Keith Joseph, and indeed the City Corporation both have the power under Sections 207 and 28 respectively of the Town Planning Act 1962 to issue a discontinuance Order, The Minister has said he will not act--one can only hope that he will reconsider surrender to the
developers and show a keener sense of history in stopping this legalised vandalism now before it is too late, instead of leaving some other more courageous Minister of Housing later to take steps to have this outrage removed at greater cost to the public.
(b) To write to every organ of the press so that the largest body of public opinion may bring pressure to bear against this outrageous plan.
(c) To organise in their localities petitions to send both to the Minister of Housing and the City of London Corporation.
Letters of protest and the fact that public opinion is overwhelmingly against further building' around St. Paul's will not be sufficient to move those who have in effect placed office accommodation and profit before the future enjoyment of millions of people throughout the world. (The fact that the considerable correspondence received by one national newspaper alone has been almost entirely strongly .against the projected buildings illustrates the extent of public feeling about this.) The obstruction alone from the building now being erected will make it impossible for amateur photo- graphers from this country and abroad, even with a wide-angle tine lens, to take a view of the whole of the front of this wonderful edifice. Compare this with Notre DaMe; the Madeleine and St. Peter's, Rome, where a great deal more respect is shown for beautiful . buildings. It is typical of the so-called planners to show photographs of their models from the air-.--the one view the public never sees.
There is no tenable argument in favour of further construction closer to St. Paul's than the existing buildings. There are vast areas only five minutes from the Cathedral which badly require develop- ment, which are a disgrace to the City, and which have adequate space for those who for profit are prepared to ignore the further congestion in London their plans will entail.
If the City Corporation and the Minister fail to act in accordance with the undeniable wishes of the vast majority of those who really care for the City of London and its traditions we hope, sir, you will allow us to appeal through your columns for assist- ance to set up a Committee with a view to raising funds to acquire if possible, by purchase for posterity, all those unbuilt areas around St. Paul's to be maintained as open spaces in perpetuity.