Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Impressionist

Has anyone noticed how the Hopkins Masterplan has been subtly altered by Mr Izzat in his recent talks?

Rather than being all of one piece, the aim is now the development with underground car park on the old car park, and only later, if the demand and economic climate is right, will the sunken road go ahead.

"It would be funded by the private sector and development would be in phases and strictly in response to real demand." (1) (JEP report of speech)

"However, Mr Izatt yesterday revealed that a new vision of the so-called Hopkins masterplan was now taking shape, and that detailed planning applications should be ready for submission by the end of next year." (JEP)

What in heaven's name is a "new vision" of a "masterplan" that has been drawn up by architects? Answer - as the comedian said, "It's a fiddle", otherwise known as redrawing the plan without admitting as such. The Masterplan was a complete entity designed to do that ever so important piece of claptrap - "join the Waterfront to the rest of the Town".

Quite why that was a good thing is not clear, when the main problem of crossing was not the zebra crossings, but the main streets - to be retained - that one had to cross over by Sand Street to get to the car park and then the zebra crossings, but it was repeated diligently like some kind of Buddhist mantra, and was the reason for a sunken road in the first place.

Now it seems the "new vision" can develop the "masterplan" in phases, and somehow leave out the option of the sunken road (with its 1/2 million pound maintenance costs) until a sunnier economic climate.

Obviously Mr Izzat is keen to get on with providing some value for his extraordinary salary, and wants the development, any development really, to go ahead.

"There was, meanwhile, a danger that the general public - and some States Members - were taking the artist's impression of the masterplan too literally."

I am sure that Senator Cohen, nor Hopkins Architects, will be too pleased with this sort of thing. When we are shown a picture, done in wonderful detailed graphics, as is presented in the plan, now we are told it is simply "an impression". I think the real impressionist is Mr Izzat, who is doing a wonderful impression of a man trying desperately to get something built, as quickly as possible, no matter what.

"The 400 residential units, meanwhile, would not be of the sort that some expected. 'I don't believe that they will be apartments,' he said. 'They are likely to be town houses in traditional squares"

So all that glass and concrete flats that we saw in the original masterplan was clearly an illusion; the artist was just sticking blocks of flats there as an artists impression of some vague kind of dwellings for accommodation!

All you need is a "new vision". And the old plan, which involved a huge risk, such as a sunken road, and the dangers of flooding near Gloucester Street can be gently shelved.

I don't mind that - any scheme which does not involve half a million pound maintenance costs (for the sunken road), funded by the taxpayer in perpetuity, seems good to me.

The only secure basis on which that could realistically go ahead would be if the ground rent and common areas included payment for maintenance of the road below, so the taxpayer would not have to finance it.

But I do chuckle at the way in which the "new vision" is presented by Mr Izzat as if nothing has changed.

What can one say of Mr Izzat? He must have gone to Specsavers!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And yet it is the fact he has no shame in doing this that should worry everyone. The even changed WEB so they could get something built down there. As soon as it was passed in the states ( cant remember the name) then we had small terrorist proof buildings coming forward.

Has someone got some money tied up down there. They just can't let it go