A major regeneration project with up to 1,800 homes in tower blocks looks set to go ahead after the Mayor of London chose not to stop it.
Opponents of the O2 Masterplan hoped Sadiq Khan might halt developer Landsec's scheme for the Finchley Road site after Camden Council gave conditional approval for plans in March.
The detailed and outline applications - including 608 homes, shops, restaurants and a community centre and public space in the first phase - were then referred to the mayor, and objectors pointed to the fact that the plans breach policies on both height and density.

But the mayor has opted not to scrutinise them - effectively rubber stamping Camden's decision.

When it was made, developer Landsec said that 35 per cent of the 1,800 homes would be affordable and that changes to the initial plans after consultation with the community included reducing the height of the tallest building to 15 storeys.

The deputy mayor's office had said the application did not comply with the London plan in terms of affordable housing or height.

But the Mayor's report, published this month, says: "Building heights are greater than the immediate context (those around the site); however, the site is identified in the local plan as a growth area capable of delivering a significant amount of housing."

Reacting to the decision, Janet Grauberg, who lives off West End Lane, said: "It's disappointing but not surprising.

Ham & High: The O2 centre and a car park currently take up part of the redevelopment site (Image: Julia Gregory)The O2 centre and a car park currently take up part of the redevelopment site (Image: Julia Gregory) (Image: Julia Gregory)

"The planning application from Landsec doesn't meet Camden Council's policy or the London Mayor's policy and despite that it's going ahead.

"It breaches the GLA policy on height and the London-wide policy on height and Camden's policy on the level of affordable housing. It's disappointing Camden approved it in the first place."

Cllr Tom Simon, leader of Camden's Liberal Democrats also said "the outcome isn't a surprise but it's disappointing".

He added: "Yes, we need more housing but the plan that was passed around the housing mix, the open space, around ensuring transport improvements that we need in the area.

"It's a mistake and a missed opportunity to do something better that will really meet the needs of the community here in Camden."

Plans for the site around the current shopping centre and Homebase store include a new town square with shops and restaurants, as well as a gym and a cinema. A “tree-lined” park will also connect Finchley Road to West Hampstead.

A Camden Council spokesperson said: “We are pleased the Mayor of London has supported our decision to grant permission for the redevelopment of the O2 centre.

"This scheme will deliver 1,800 good quality new homes in Camden, of which 35% will be social rent and living rent homes.

"The provision of these new homes will help meet the high demand for genuinely affordable and good quality homes.

“The proposed redevelopment will make better use of this under-used land and the reduction in car parking will reduce congestion and improve air quality.

"The scheme is of a high quality design and will deliver new community space, a medical centre, open space, improvements for pedestrians and cyclists and to public transport facilities including step free access to West Hampstead Station.”