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Community concerns prompt developers to redesign Swain’s Lane parade demolition project

An artist's impression of the Swain's Lane redevelopment, as submitted to Camden Council. Picture: Liam OConnor Architects An artist's impression of the Swain's Lane redevelopment, as submitted to Camden Council. Picture: Liam OConnor Architects

Thursday, February 13, 2014
2:00 PM

Plans to bulldoze a Highgate shopping parade have been put on hold while developers go back to the drawing board.

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The Earl of Listowel, who owns the Swain’s Lane parade, will revise plans to demolish the one-storey parade and rebuild it as two three-storey buildings after talks with Camden Council planning officers and the community.

About 200 people wrote to the council objecting to the plans, which were lodged at the town hall three months ago.

Developers are working with the steering group and council to redesign the buildings and discuss what shops should go on the ground floor.

Patrick Lefevre, chairman of the Dartmouth Park Conservation Area Advisory Committee, said it was possible a compromise could be reached.

“I think there is a solution and I think if we are all pushing in the same direction, then I think we could get to it, but the last drawings I saw weren’t there yet,” he said. “From the point of view of the committee, our basic position is that it should be a two-storey development and if we think it’s going to be more than that, then it has to be reasonable and modest and not a prominent part of the building.”

Under current proposals, the development will be reduced to two storeys at the corner of Highgate West Hill to preserve views of St Anne’s Church.

Campaigners raised concerns about the design to developers at two sessions with Lord Listowel’s representatives in January.

A spokesman for Lord Listowel’s design team said: “At every stage of this process we have listened and collaborated with both the community and Camden officers, and of course that collaboration continues during the life of the application.

“Meetings were held with the Swain’s Lane Steering Group to discuss key issues and to agree how we move forward.

“The council has agreed to extend the determination period of the application to continue this dialogue.

“Further discussion will continue before a revised scheme is submitted to the council shortly.

“The council will reconsult with the local community on this scheme in due course.”

There have been plans to bulldoze and rebuild the parade for about 20 years and traders are becoming frustrated by the constant delays and threat of eviction.

“I’m just fed up with it all,” said Gary Convington, owner of Convington’s Florists, who will have to quit after 21 years once construction work begins.

Greengrocer Mickey Shamlian, 63, who has worked in Swain’s Lane for 22 years, said: “I actually thought the application was quite good, but I’ve just got fed up with it at the end of the day.

“I’ve been praying that I can stay here until I’m 65. If it’s God’s will, anything is possible.”

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