But I ought to immediately declare an interest: I was a (very small) part of the team that worked on the UK Fashion Hub bid. And, while I can see it might have its detractors (and it was, to an extent, speculative, of course I appreciate that there are commercial considerations), nobody could fault its vision, its aspiration, its reaching-out to stakeholders and to the local community.
Nobody could have questioned its wish to build a genuine legacy with a local commitment and a global platform, a proper theme, and a rich and diverse community of interest behind it.
OK, I admit that it would be unfair to categorise the iCity bid as a glorified data centre, and it does have the merit of some "TMT jobs" (current property industry buzzword) and dubious links to the holy grail of Tech City (whatever that is) in its "innovation centre". But the UK Fashion Hub concept was light. And colour. And vibrancy. It was cool and young. It was the opposite of technocratic. The Fashion Hub could send a serious signal on legacy.
And nobody, but nobody, will go on-record to comment. One close source, when pressed, said "poor choice". And another (even more mealy mouthed) was that iCity "does have some redeeming features" (and directed me to their website).
This is not great. Where is the joy? Where is the love? And it is a sad fact that both bids were somewhat grasping at straws on a very difficult (arguably impossible) plot. As soon as the design of the thing became dumbed down to not much more than an aircraft hanger, in that ghastly furore of 2008, the Media Centre was irrevocably embarked on a downward trajectory. This doesn't half feel like the Dome all over again! A huge space looking for a purpose in an unproven part of the city.
Perhaps, taking some serious lessons from the Dome fiasco, we should just start again. A completely alternative view is rather brilliantly summarised by one commentator thus: "I know it ain't cheap to resist pimping it out to the first passer-by who shows a bit of leg (maintenance, security and despair value of an empty site); but it might be better for all concerned to treat it as a big shed for a little while until something better comes along (when site has identity, a transport solution and not just a few crashed/landed alien ships for neighbours).
"Real leadership is saying we still don't really know what it should be, do some meanwhile stuff that keeps it occupied and delivers some jobs (which could be anything from a logistics depot, to a rave, gallery, car park, whatever) and wait for the bigger opportunity. Trouble is too much political pressure, ego and reputations (and the fact they've had four years to come up with a solution and haven't) means that Something Must Be Done To Help The Poor Of East London And No Dilly-Dallying About Or You're A Traitor To The Cause."
Oh dear oh lor! One can only hope that with everything having changed at the top recently in the LLDC, there is all to play for. This recommendation might well mean nothing to an unafraid guy like Daniel Moylan. He may reverse the decision. Or, of course, having already asked for a reassessment of the demolition costs, he may just flog the site off for housing at the first opportunity...