“Beauty” and the Thames

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State, has finally approved a planning application for a new development on the South Bank of the Thames in London, by Make Architects, having delayed it 3 times.

The inspector for the planning noted “The Inquiry grappled with the concept of beauty. Unsurprisingly, this resulted in more than one approach to its definition. I have two brief points to make in this regard: Firstly, the concept of beauty is for some clearly a subjective one. Labelling the building as ‘ugly’ or ‘fat’ only goes to reinforce my view of the subjective nature of such a narrow definition. Secondly, assessing whether the building achieves a high-quality design is an objective process.”

Michael Gove also highlighted that beauty is included as a concept in the National Planning Policy Framework – but is entirely undefined and unexplained…