Vista view will show Cathedral
By Terence McQueen
THE Westminster City Council
yesterday (Thursday) discussed a multi-million pound re-building scheme which will alter the setting of Westminster Cathedral and take away a number of longestablished Catholic offices and shops.
Under the scheme, which is being finally considered now by the London County Council, eight acres of property near the cathedral will be pulled down, and six skyscrapers will be erected.
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Among the property to be pulled
down are the offices of "The Tablet", The Catholic Association, Burns Oates and Washbourne Holdings, B.O.W. and Bartlett (Church furnishers), and the C.W.L. Relief and Refugee Committee's headquarters.
The C.T.S. Bookshop, The Ashley Art Gallery, and Burns and Oates shops will also disappear.
BUT the Cathedral will take on a new prominence. An opening is to be preserved between the new skyscrapers in front of the cathedral, and for the first time the full architectural glory of the cathedral will he visible to the thousands of passers-by in Victoria Street, street of pageantry and pomp on State occasions when Heads of State arrive at nearby Victoria Station.
When the possibilities of this "vista scheme" for the Cathedral were first revealed in the CATHOLIC HERALD 18 months ago, reports were published elsewhere saying that the story had "no foundation".
But this week, Westminster's Town Planning Committee, reviewing the mammoth rebuilding scheme in Victoria, stated : "The view of Westminster Cathedral from Victoria Street would be opened up."
The Committee added that this development should be welcomed. "The Council should offer no objection in principle to the scheme."
At present, the cathedral stands almost unnoticed by the thousands of passersby in Victoria Street. II P.5 is hemmed in by a block of sixstorey buildings straggling within 10 yards of its main entrance. These are the buildings which will be pulled down when the redevelopment scheme is implemented by the London County Council. Some of them are owned by the cathedral. but more of them are owned by the Church of England (75 per cent). The other part of the property is owned by the Crown Commissioners and the Army and Navy Stores.
Architects representing the Cathedral authorities, the Church of England, the Crown Commissioners and the Army and Navy Stores, have reached agreement on the redevelopment scheme, and have submitted a plan to the London County Council allowing for an opening in front of the cathedral which will provide the muchawaited vista.