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Controversial plans to build 300 new homes in West Hampstead are a step closer, despite concerns the development will deteriorate into a ghetto.

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The Abbey Estate scheme is one of the biggest redevelopment projects in Camden and is being put forward by the council in a bid to tackle the chronic social housing shortage.

But major concerns were raised at a meeting yesterday (Thursday, April 12) that the scheme does not include enough affordable, family sized homes or open space.

Chris Orriss, from Cornhill Investments, a business based in the estate’s car park, which is set to be converted into flats, said: “The area has one of the highest crime rates going. This will be a wonderful development when it is first built, but a few years later I think it will be a ghetto.”

He added: “We don’t want to replace one concrete jungle with another.”

The scheme, which has to return to the Town Hall before building work can begin, includes 296 homes but only 132 affordable homes. A medical practice will also be built.

Kilburn Cllr Mike Katz said the redevelopment was an opportunity to “transform the landscape”. He admitted that “in an ideal world” there would be a higher affordable housing mix but added “there is much that is good about this scheme”.

The self-financing scheme is part of a wider project to build more affordable homes.

The proposals recieved outline planning permission from Camden Council at the meeting yesterday (Thursday, April 12).

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