Given the alacrity with which Gideon and Call Me Dave are flogging off national interests on the cheap to China, it was a wonder that as they departed the banqueting hall at Buck House this week – where they had been quaffing £140-a-bottle wine on the very day the Tories were voting to cut the benefits of millions of Britain’s working poor – the Chancellor didn’t whip the crown off Her Maj’s head and pass it to President’s Xi’s folk-singing missus.
Now we learn of one corner of south London which will be forever China.
One Lansdowne Road, opposite the site of the £1 billion Hammersfield supermall development, will have China Building Technique Group as its primary contractor.
The £500 million Lansdowne Road project is now scheming two towers, of 35 and one of 57 storeys, the taller one nearly 700ft high (Note to Chris Philp: that’s what you call a skyscraper), with 900 homes contained within, although the scheme has yet to be granted planning permission.
If it goes ahead, it will be one of the tallest residential tower blocks in the country. Croydon’s Labour-controlled council’s target of 50 per cent affordable housing with all new developments might be tested with this one.
Given how Labour, when in opposition, argued against the 55-storey Mental Tower on Cherry Orchard Road, it will be interesting to see what stance the council takes on this latest towering proposition.
Developers Guildhouse UK and Rosepride Properties signed up the Chinese contractor to work on the design and engineering consultation because of CBTG’s expertise in building uber-tall skyscrapers in China’s (until recently) rapidly developing cities.
Details of the deal were announced to coincide with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit.
According to Construction Enquirer, “Earlier plans for a 55-storey tower and accompanying 15-storey block, which were to have contained offices, a hotel and flats, have been redrafted.”
CBTG is a subsidiary of the China Academy of Building Research, the largest research and development organisation in China’s building industry. It was established in 1987. Presumably there are no British or European companies suitably qualified for this project. Or maybe there are none as cheap?
“Many people are sceptical about whether Croydon can finish such as magnificent project,” David Hudson, the chief executive of developer Guildhouse UK, said, as if to defy the local authority to even consider scrutinising his company’s scheme at the planning stage.
“With a partner like CBTGC, we know it is deliverable,” he said. Whether it is in any way desirable, apart from the profits his company stands to make, was desirable.
One of his developer colleagues was also quoted, using the word “iconic” about the building, so they’re clearly fluent in bullshit, if not Mandarin.
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