Jonathan Prynn reports in the Evening Standard 1st December 2016
Campaigners including Downton Abbey star Jim Carter who are opposed to "flawed" plans for "vast housing blocks" on council-owned land in north London have drawn up a "more sensitive" alternative proposal.
They have commissioned classical architect Francis Terry to create designs for the redevelopment of the site in West Hampstead based on "traditional red-brick mansion style buildings in keeping with the local area".
The plot at 156 West End Lane, owned by Camden council, has been earmarked for 164 homes on land used as a builders' yard since the Seventies. However, opponents say the plans from the local authority and housing association A2 Dominion are out of keeping with local building styles and breach the council's own planning guidelines on loss of employment.
Local resident Mr Carter said: "Publicly owned land like the site at 156 West End Lane is hugely precious and an asset we need to cherish. "The proposed scheme needs a rethink. I'd like to see something that supports our community, not another high-rise development beyond the reach of so many of the people who make West Hampstead what it is."
The land is currently used by builders merchant Travis Perkins, which teamed up with campaign group Create Streets to commission the drawings from Mr Terry. Its group property director Martin Meech: "We're 100 per cent in favour of regeneration on this site but it should be done properly. We have commissioned an alternative set of designs precisely to point out how a genuinely sustainable and positive reuse of the site could be achieved."
He said up to 30 people would lose their jobs if Travis Perkins is forced off the site. The alternative scheme would let the builders' yard continue trading.
The proposals are due to come before Camden's planning committee on December 15. A spokesman for Camden council, said: "The council as planning authority are presently considering an application for the site which is subject to public consultation and which will be considered by its planning committee in due course."
- Jonathan Prynn
Thursday 1 December 2016