View from the street: Reject plans over safety concerns
PUBLISHED: 10:30 12 July 2018
Despite major reservations put forward by hundreds of residents and campaigners, Camden Council’s Planning Department has just rubber-stamped a massively invasive and downright dangerous Construction Management Plan (CMP) proposed by contractors for Essential Living the developers of the 100 Avenue Road office block.
The Planning Department already spent three years helping that American-backed company to propose replacing the modest office building with a monstrous 24-storey tower and a pair of 7-9-storey side blocks with over 180 flats mostly for private users at high rents. These blocks will overshadow the whole of the local park and dominate the leisure complex at Swiss Cottage, including its single building of architectural note: the Grade 2 listed library designed by Sir Basil Spence.
But now the stark reality is about to descend on the whole area around Swiss Cottage, with a plan to run massive 34-ft-long construction trucks – at the rate of one every 20 minutes for at least three years – up through the park, making this main access route a tiny track for all that time. Our planners do not seem to know that this is the main access route for all users of the leisure facilities, as well as all residents moving between their homes and local shops and transport links. Thousands of people an hour pass through the areas impacted by this CMP.
One new aspect concerning this proposal is a massive underground car park directly below where these trucks, now heavily laden with demolition rubble, are planned to go. No mention has been made of this issue, so we wonder if anyone has examined whether the roof over this car park is strong enough to support such vehicles over the years involved?
The trucks will then pass through the Market Square, but there is no mention of how this will be managed: when markets are in progress you can barely walk through the area. Then they will try to go down Winchester Road, the narrowest and most congested street, again with no indication of how these truck movements will be controlled.
We have one last hope. There is a realistic and much less invasive alternative: All demolition traffic access could take place from the western side of the building on the A41/Avenue Road itself. This is perfectly viable, given that the six traffic lanes in that area will only be used by bicycles and buses as the CS11 Cycle Superhighway is developed and all the rest of the local traffic will be directed away from that area and down in front of the Odeon Cinema.
We hope our local councillors, including the newly elected Labour ones at Swiss Cottage, will reject this CMP when it is discussed at the Planning Committee meeting on Thursday, July 19: we hope they understand how this the CMP will severely restrict access to Swiss Cottage leisure complex as well as endangering visitors to facilities and markets, and all local people and children as they travel to and from their homes and schools. We hope they will reject the plan and demand a proper evaluation of the alternative.