Last week, the Evening Standard reported on Prince Charles’s latest ‘plans to create a vibrant ‘community hub’ around Waterloo station by drawing on the spending power of commuters.’
The buzz word of the announcement was, and still is, very much ‘community’, and the Prince has used local opinion to inform generation plans.
Prince Charles, together with TV property expert Kirstie Allsopp, plans to ‘launch a scheme that would tie together the revamp of the station’s former Eurostar platforms with other projects, such as the nearby Shell building.’
The main theme is to leverage the 86 million passengers who pass through Waterloo station every year. By improving the area around the station, new businesses will hopefully prove attractive to those who would otherwise have sauntered through the station without spending a single penny.
Kirsty Allstop put it well when she said,
‘We all go into stations and through them. That must impact the area. Passengers are not making a huge contribution to businesses in the area.’
Prince Charles commented: ‘as I walked around Waterloo, it was rather extraordinary to think that it was over 25 years ago I first started on what turned out to be an extremely lonely road towards establishing my foundation to tackle the lost art of community-building.’
He made note of the integral fact that ‘the nature of the built environment significantly determines our quality of life.’
So, what has everyone been saying about the proposition? Naturally, reaction has been mixed. Glancing at the comments from readers of the Evening Standard website, it’s clear that some Londoners are strongly opposed to the proposed changes. As one put it: ‘does Waterloo really need the input of our future King? I think not.’
Londoner Neil was similarly pessimistic about Charles’s role, commenting:
‘The Cut has managed to be a great food destination without Prince Charles’s help. Would he ever actually hang out there? Does he ever use Waterloo station?’
Positive feedback has been sparse, although a ‘P. Bloomberg’ from California hit out with some patriotism from across the pond:
‘the PRINCE is a national asset. he wants a better BRITAIN. he wants a better LONDON.’
The ‘Inigo Fans Club’ also reacted positively, saying ‘thank God for Prince Charles’ interest’, hoping ‘the very creative and slightly “bananas” Kirstie Allsop puts her creativity to work, with the blessing and the artistic competence of our future King.’
Overall, the proposals have not been received well. Change is difficult at the best of times but it seems the good intentions of royalty aren’t quite hitting the spot for many Londoners.
The involvement of Prince Charles has undoubtedly distracted some people, but it’s difficult to argue with his comments about ‘the lost art of community-building’.
So, do you believe these ideas will come to fruition and benefit the area? Or does Waterloo not need redeveloping? We’d love to hear from you.