US Embassy, Greenwich?

The US Embassy in Grosvenor Square is up for sale at £ 90m. Frankly I’m not in the market for it. What used to be an elegant West London square has been denuded of any charm, desecrated by gigantic concrete lumps, plastic road blocks and sentry boxes, a little piece of Fort Knox in Britain. I’ll be saving my £ 90m for something a little less, well, ugly.

It was a bit at the bottom of the feature that caught my eye. Apparently, the US government are considering moving their embassy to, among others, Greenwich.

Is this something we welcome? On the plus side, there would be a lot of new people visiting SE London – it might give us a few more tourists who’ve been forced to trudge out here to get a visa – but apart from that I’m struggling to think of reasons I’d want a known security risk in my neck of the woods. They don’t say WHERE in Greenwich they’re contemplating commandeering to turn into a hideous concrete Secret Headquarters of Doom, a magnet for anyone with weapons who disapproves of US foreign policy (ouch) but I’m guessing that it won’t be anywhere that would keep them out of the way.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-American. But that embassy is a truly unpleasant place where it is now – everything that’s bad about a fundamentally good country. I can’t imagine that relocating to somewhere in Greenwich is going to turn it into a hub for the local community. My partner thinks it’s a great idea. I’m not convinced.

Presumably there’s serious money on the table for any council who’s prepared to take these guys on, but I’ll be interested to watch what happens when, after welcoming Our American Friends into the area, Greenwich Council has to stand by while they lead the movement to refuse to pay the congestion charge (tee hee, lights blue touch-paper and retires…)

What’s the general view on this? Perhaps someone knows sites they’re considering (shame – they just missed out on the Dome. Maybe they’d like to buy Belmarsh – that one’s nicely fortified already.)

I can’t really get a handle on it yet. My knee-jerk reaction is wary, but I’m prepared to have my mind changed…


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