I wandered around Lewes this week and it suddenly hit me that there are almost no tall buildings here. The only ones in town are the Council Offices and the castle. An important county town such as Lewes with its regional government and county court should have prestigious architecture and in my mind that means TALL. With applications in the pipeline for redevelopment, I would just like to put in my bid for height. What Lewes needs is skyscrapers. High-rise, affordable homes which offer loads of space for contemporary living. Tower blocks are environmentally friendly and wonderful to live in. My particular love of them stems from my years at the University of Essex where I got a thrill every time the monumental modernist towers came into sight from the train window. They towered over Colchester giving a message that Essex was an impressive university. They also left the stunning Wivenhoe Park (much painted by Constable) relatively unscathed. We could all enjoy its beauty from the windows of the halls of residence and the library.
I realize that this represents a minority view as I have yet to find anyone at all who shares my passion for skyscrapers. I must have been absent from school on the day that everyone else in England was brainwashed into believing that short buildings are good and tall ones bad. But I ask you this: what purpose do twittens, fireplaces, parlours, sculleries, lattice windows and neo-Georgian columns serve in the 21st century? Tell me why patio gardens are better than landscaped parks. Why should anyone want to create some hideous pastiche of an old town when they have the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to modern architecture and offer vibrant homes to people who need them at prices they can afford? I say, let’s reach for the sky.