Citizens protest against large office tower near Victorian streets in London

Electric Avenue in Brixton, London, with Victorian houses
Brixton's Electric Avenue, with its unchanged Victorian skyline. Image: R Sones (Wikimedia), CC BY-SA 2.0

Combining historic skylines with new buildings often creates difficulties or even controversies. This is happening right now in London’s Brixton district. A property company owned by Texan millionaire Taylor McWilliams is planning to build a 20-story office tower in the district. In response, local residents and heritage organisations protest and have started a petition to stop the tower from being built.

Brixton is famous for its Electric Avenue, one of the first market streets with electric lightning, built in the 1880s. It still has a lot of Victorian buildings and is relatively free of large, modern buildings, according to a conservation adviser for the Victorian Society. The Victorian Society, an English charity that helps preserve Victorian architecture, is one of the parties protest and campaigning against the office tower. Another important opponent to the plans is Historic England, the government body that lists and preserves historic buildings among other things.

Stuart Taylor / Brixton Town Hall, London / CC BY-SA 2.0

Both these organisations and local residents fear that Brixton’s unique character will be harmed by putting a huge, modern building between the smaller Victorian ones. In addition, debates about the gentrification of Brixton have been going on for a while as well. The petition has received over 8,000 signatures, and the involved organisations have vowed to keep campaigning against the tower.

Source: The Guardian, London News Online

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