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A Tokyo developer will demolish a building for spoiling the view. Why doesn’t Britain care about beauty? | Simon Jenkins

Politicians and planners are allowing the Thames to become an urban canyon – greed always seems to win out

A Japanese developer has announced it will demolish a new tower of luxury flats in Tokyo it was weeks from completing. The reason? The 10-storey development was blocking beautiful views of Mount Fuji. The idea a developer would reach such a decision in Britain is inconceivable. In London, flats are usually built to make a profit. If they have a beautiful view, good luck to those buying them. To hell with anyone else’s beauty.

One of what we assume was the Sunak government’s last decisions was Michael Gove’s greenlighting of a huge 20-storey concrete slab that is about to rise on the banks of the Thames next to the National Theatre. It is hideous, and will dominate the once-glorious view of St Paul’s cathedral from Waterloo Bridge. Paradoxically, its developer is the Mitsubishi Corporation.

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