Many of you will know King Henry's Mound in the grounds of Pembroke Lodge, where (it is said) Henry VIII stood watching for the sign from St Paul's that Anne Boleyn had been executed at the Tower, and that he was then free to marry Jane Seymour.
The vista from King Henry's Mound to St Paul's remains, framed by an avenue of trees planted in 1710, soon after the completion of St Paul's. The vista is protected; no buildings over 200 feet high can be constructed within a width of 488 feet (149m) around the vista. Nine other views from Greenwich, Primrose Hill, Alexandra Palace and elsewhere are similarly protected.
When Ken Livingstone published his draft London Plan in 2002, these views were not included for protection. After protests, the protection was re-instated. Now, Livingstone's London View Management Framework (LVMF) proposes to reduce the width from 149m to 70m, and increase the height of the buildings allowed, as part of his push to increase the number of high-rise offices in London.
Livingstone consulted with London Boroughs and other bodies on the proposals, but then largely ignored the objections. His proposals have now been accepted by Office for London, the central government department which oversees the Greater London Authority, and in principle came into effect in mid-July. Various bodies, including English Heritage and The Royal Parks, are protesting the decision.
Livingstone's own draft LVMF in 2005 described the view from King Henry's Mound this way: "the viewer experiences the intimate scale and rural nature of the location, quite removed from urban central London. Very little intervening development can be seen between the trees in the foreground and the landmark, and all visible development is entirely subordinated to the form of the lantern, dome, drum and peristyle of the Cathedral. Such is the distance of this view, atmospheric conditions have a magic effect on its visibility. In consideration of its future backdrop, therefore, the dome should always be seen against the sky".
This "magic effect" is what is now being threatened. The Committee of the Friends urges all members to write both to Ken Livingstone and to their MP's. Please copy Ron Crompton at the e-mail address below on any of your letters; he will ensure that they also get passed on to the relevant councils and The Royal Parks.
Ken Livingstone's address is: Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, Greater London Authority, City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2AA or firstname.lastname@example.org
The 3 main MPs locally are:
Kingston & Surbiton - Edward Davey MP
Putney - Justine Greening MP
Richmond Park - Susan Kramer MP
All of them have websites on which you can post your letter, Alternatively, write to them at House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
Please copy your e-mails (and any replies you receive ) to email@example.com, or 143 Palewell Park, London SW14 8JJ.