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Call for residents meeting with Boris Johnson over tower block plan for Ham&High office

From left to right (front): Sarah Gottlieb, Cllr Simon Marcus, Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland, Geoff Martin and Tulip Siddiq. Back, left to right: Natalie Bennett, Nicholas Boys Smith and Cllr Pat Callaghan. Picture: Polly Hancock. From left to right (front): Sarah Gottlieb, Cllr Simon Marcus, Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland, Geoff Martin and Tulip Siddiq. Back, left to right: Natalie Bennett, Nicholas Boys Smith and Cllr Pat Callaghan. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Thursday, June 19, 2014
5:34 PM

Residents have been urged to demand a meeting with Mayor of London Boris Johnson about controversial plans for a 24-storey tower block of homes in Swiss Cottage.

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The current Ham&High office building at 100 Avenue Road, Swiss Cottage. Picture: Polly HancockThe current Ham&High office building at 100 Avenue Road, Swiss Cottage. Picture: Polly Hancock

More than 150 residents packed into Swiss Cottage Community Centre, in Winchester Road, last night for a community meeting to show their opposition to an application from developer Essential Living to build a tower block containing 184 flats at 100 Avenue Road.

Under the plans, the current office block on the site, which houses the Ham&High and other companies, would be torn down and replaced with the high-rise development.

There was cross-party opposition to the plans from Camden’s politicians at last night’s meeting, which was chaired by Ham&High editor Geoff Martin and organised by campaigners Swiss Cottage Action Group.

Hampstead Town councillor Simon Marcus, also Conservative parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, said he was “happy to fall out with Boris again” over the planned scheme, which the mayor has already supported in principle.

"While I have no particular affection for the building as it stands I’m yet to be convinced that it should be replaced by a tower of Babel"

Geoff Martin, Ham&High editor

Labour’s parliamentary candidate Tulip Siddiq, who read out a letter of support for residents from incumbent MP Glenda Jackson who was unable to attend the meeting, urged residents to push for a meeting with Mr Johnson.

She said: “Whatever decision is made at Camden Council because of the height of the building it has to go to Boris Johnson and he has the right to veto the decision of Camden Council.

“I suggest we ask Glenda Jackson to convene a meeting with Boris Johnson and the residents here. We need him to hear our concerns first hand because that is where the power lies.

“So go to the planning application and write to Mr Johnson. If you’re happy for me to tell Glenda to convene a meeting with us and Boris Johnson, I’m happy to do that but I have to have your permission to do that.”

Mr Martin, who has edited the Ham&High from its Avenue Road office for 12 years, told the meeting: “While I have no particular 
affection for the building as it stands I’m yet to be convinced that it should be replaced by a tower of Babel.”

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