The problem I raised with them was not the design or look of the buildings, which are in sympathy with the area, but the precedent that would be set by the disposal of the land by the Council. It was clear from the plans they showed me that the area of Bute Park they want is not actually needed for the provision of new educational facilities – rehearsal rooms, concert hall, recording studios. The ONLY reason it is coveted by them is to have a grandiose scheme with art gallery, huge atrium, café and terracing that will, in their words to me at the meeting, “make a statement to the people and have us noticed” because too many people walk by without realising the College is there.
They also argued that it was a piece of land in poor condition but if we used that basis for action then councils could just let areas ‘run to seed’ and then dispose of them.
The truth is they don’t need the land to provide the new facilities but somewhere between the Council and the College scheme has been hatched to dispose of part of Bute Park that will set an important precedent.