If you have around £150 million, then you could buy an apartment in this building.  The rest of it is about to be turned into a hotel, luxury apartments (“serviced residences”) and a private members’ club  Indeed it seems there are very few buildings in London that are not being built as, or converted to, luxury apartments and hotels.  The centre of London changes so often I have lost track.

Only a couple of weeks ago I went to Waterloo and half of the buildings, including a secondary Underground entrance/exit, have been demolished.  Luxury apartments are going to be built there. I hope someone is recording the changes because I find them extraordinarily rapid.

I am working with a small lighting design company whose philosophy is about working with people to improve their surroundings and environment.  They believe in listening to what people want, and using their ideas as a starting point for the design.  They try and work with social housing, but sadly social housing is not what many people with money are interested in.  What little there is, is run by cash- strapped councils and trusts like Peabody.  Where the money for design is, is in big luxury hotels and restaurants, many of which are not in this country.

I’ve nothing against hotels and private apartments but so much money is creating things that are in London but not investing in London.  It’s a city where  the poor and the rich have always lived side by side (an interesting theme – one of many – covered in Sarah Perry’s novel The Essex Serpent which I reviewed here last month) but really, are we not enlightened enough to be investing in affordable housing?  Anyone I know renting is paying way more than what I pay for my mortgage every month.  A whole generation of young people are coming out of education in debt and then are unable to buy a house.  Post-2nd WW social renting increased and from the 1950’s  owner occupation began to dominate

Read more here if you are interested in this topic

but the lack of affordable and social housing in 2016 is scandalous.  Foreign investors want more and more for their money.  I heard someone the other day say if you have £6 million why do you need £7 million? Well because you are living a £6 million lifestyle.  And money begets money.  The Bible does not say that money is the root of all evil.  It says the love of money is the root of all evil.  It has a point.

You may be wondering why the apartment costs £150 million.  Well, looking one way you are viewing Buckingham Palace at the end of The Mall, and the other way you are about 20 seconds from Trafalgar Square.

Maybe the “extraordinary team of artisans…working on restoring Sir Aston Webb’s designs and breathing new life into a vision delivered over 100 years ago” could turn their attention to the majority of Londoners’ needs when they’ve finished.

Postscript: the statue is of one of my childhood heroes Captain Cook.  Being from Yorkshire we had many a holiday in and near Whitby.