The other day, I was in North Wales. Conwy is a delightful town, almost entirely contained within its medieval walls. Nothing much has changed since the Elizabethan town house of Plas Mawr was built. It’s rather different from Pimlico. Back home, I went to a residents’ association meeting, and found our borders are under threat of change on every side.
South of the river, a scheme to revive the Battersea Power Station site has been approved; perhaps the four chimneys, forlorn since activity ceased in the 1980s, won’t look so much like the legs of a dead cow. The new American embassy will be built, in the form of a giant sugar cube, next door.
The old Chelsea Barracks site is being redeveloped by the architects Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones. Victoria station is about to be altered, causing travel mayhem in time for the Olympic Games. In the Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico, made in 1949, Pimlico declared independence from the rest of the UK.
Girdled by so much development, I wonder if we shouldn’t do so now. If only we had Conwy’s walls. They would provide a vantage point from which to catapult rotten fruit at the billionaire’s enclave of One Hyde Park (Town Mouse, January 19)-although I suspect the billionaires would resist the temptation to invade.