Search

Battle for Camden’s ‘Manhattan’ skyline grows as West Hampstead tower is branded ‘raised middle finger’

08:00 24 July 2014

West Hampstead protesters showed their opposition to the 14-storey tower block proposed at the Liddell Road Industrial Estate over the weekend. Picture: Nigel Sutton

West Hampstead protesters showed their opposition to the 14-storey tower block proposed at the Liddell Road Industrial Estate over the weekend. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A battle for Camden’s skyline is slowly spreading through the borough as communities launch impassioned campaigns against the construction of two tower blocks –described as representing “raised middle fingers to the whole community”.

The Save Swiss Cottage campaigners gather outside 100 Avenue Road. Picture: Polly HancockThe Save Swiss Cottage campaigners gather outside 100 Avenue Road. Picture: Polly Hancock

Plans to erect a 14-storey tower block in the heart of West Hampstead and a 24-storey tower block in the centre of Swiss Cottage have shocked residents and led to fears they will set a precedent for yet more towers in the rest of Camden.

It comes as private developers and London Mayor Boris Johnson continue to cite their support for solving London’s housing crisis by “building high”.

Camden’s cabinet member for housing revealed the council was now receiving “more and more pitches for higher buildings” and that the construction of any towers “would certainly set a precedent for the surrounding area”.

Cllr Julian Fulbrook added: “While my own ward of Holborn isn’t quite Manhattan, it’s certainly starting to feel that way.”

Fears a “lower Manhattan” could spread further north of the borough were certainly felt in West Hampstead this week.

On Tuesday evening, angry residents filled Sidings Community Centre to discuss the council-proposed tower block at the Liddell Road Industrial Estate.

The estate, home to 24 businesses, will be bulldozed and replaced with housing, increased employment space and a primary school building.

But the decision to include a 14-storey tower block led to scathing attacks on councillors and architects – and accusations they were “ruining West Hampstead” and “offending its skyline”.

Residents were also furious that no affordable housing would be present at the 105-home development, leading to accusations the flats would be sold to foreign nationals and property speculators.

One resident at the meeting even revealed how he saw flats at another controversial nearby development – the 12-storey Ballymore development off West End Lane – advertised to him while visiting the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong.

Andrew Parkinson, co-founder of campaign group “No to 14 Storeys”, said: “This tower will be a blot on the landscape, set a precedent for the area and provide no affordable housing for the local community.

“To top it all, the council is set to make a profit on this development – and spend it elsewhere in Camden.”

Architects and the council insist the lack of affordable homes is necessary to fund the school.

In Swiss Cottage, campaigners are themselves bracing for a showdown with developers and Boris Johnson.

The Mayor has backed the demolition of the 100 Avenue Road building – former home to the Ham&High – and the erection of a 24-storey replacement housing block.

Its private developer, Essential Living, this week suggested opponents should “change with the times” and “respond to the needs of 2014 not the 1970s”.

Sarah Gottlieb, from the Save Swiss Cottage group, said of the proposed 24-storey tower: “We want houses that local families can actually live in.

“The development will provide less than 15 per cent affordable housing. That’s not dealing with the housing crisis.”

Fearing their neighbourhood could be next, other community groups in Camden have added to the condemnation of “building high”.

Influential conservation group The Heath and Hampstead Society wrote of the “monstrous Swiss Cottage tower”: “The thought that it could itself become a precedent for more towers – a Northern Canary Wharf – is quite appalling.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

15:00
Lord Dubs      Picture: Katie Collins/PA

Dozens of politicians, religious leaders, charity heads and cultural groups in Camden have signed a letter pleading with Home Secretary Amber Rudd to change her mind on settling child refugees in Britain.

Lara Casalotti

A year ago, Belsize Park student Lara Casalotti was in desperate need of a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

09:57
The crash in England's Lane                Picture: Francoise Lamouche

A car crashed and flipped over in Belsize Park last night.

Yesterday, 17:49
Nazanin with her husband Richard and daughter Gabriella

West Hampstead mum Nazanin has finally seen a specialist for her back and neck, who said that without urgent treatment she could run the risk of permanent impairment

Yesterday, 13:14
Gakleen Shahata

Police are increasingly concerned for the wellbeing of a deaf woman with learning difficulties after she went missing from a church in Golders Green.

Yesterday, 12:50
The new community centre designed by architects RCKa

The director of a community centre in Highgate Newtown is celebrating his services being saved - thanks to private

Yesterday, 11:37
The Magic Paintbrush will be performed at Jacksons Lane

A Highgate multi-arts venue has announced its spring season and it is bursting at the seams with shows for all the family.

Friday, February 17, 2017
Professor Emma Morris in her laboratory at the Royal Free. Photo: Anna Behrmann

Anna Behrmann speaks to Professor Emma Morris, part of a team of researchers who are genetically modifying patients’ immune cells to find tumours and kill them

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Are you in need of a new kitchen? Try our competition and you could win a brand new one!

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now