Friday, 24 August 2012
Old Father Thames has never seen the like.
The Thames has been a prime location for top end of the market residential development for many years now. What was once a bustling waterway is now nothing more than a sterile backdrop, a view from the balcony, a conversation piece for the chattering classes who infest the riverside apartments. The river is now little more than a flood relief channel at the bottom of a brick and glass canyon. Don't suppose that this transformation is complete either. The next phase, prompted in part by the desire of the European bourgeoisie to find a safe haven for their wealth, is only just beginning. A few news items have recently offered clues as to what is afoot. There are big changes to the Southbank in the offing. All that public space is a waste of retail potential it seems. The skateboarders, the people just strolling about, where's the profit in that? Further upriver at Nine Elms is the site of one of the biggest developments since the transformation of Isle Of Dogs. Who knows what will happen to the ordinary folk who live in the triangle of land between Vauxhall and Queenstown Road but a clue might be found in the recent report from the think tank Policy Exchange. With the new American Embassy as the jewel in the crown Nine Elms is set to be the Mayfair of the south. None of this will go unnoticed by the international business elite who will be falling over themselves to get a piece of the action. Most will be only vaguely aware that that water they can see from the balcony is actually a river. Fewer still will contemplate the fact that the Thames will continue to make it's way from the Cotswolds to the North Sea long after they and their kind are as extinct as the dinosaurs.