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Bulldozers start knocking down 100 Avenue Road despite protests and legal challenge

PUBLISHED: 17:43 04 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:41 06 February 2019

Save Swiss Cottage campaigners gather in the rain to opposed the demolition of 100 Avenue Road before the results of a judicial review are decided. Pictured front Cllr Oliver Cooper and Janine Sachs. Picture: Polly Hancock

Save Swiss Cottage campaigners gather in the rain to opposed the demolition of 100 Avenue Road before the results of a judicial review are decided. Pictured front Cllr Oliver Cooper and Janine Sachs. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Work has begun to demolish the former Swiss Cottage office block 100 Avenue Road, despite a pending bid for a judicial review.

Demolition underway at 100 Avenue Road. Picture: Polly HancockDemolition underway at 100 Avenue Road. Picture: Polly Hancock

Protesters gathered outside as the first bulldozer and demolition claw started to tear down the six-floor building on Monday.

Save Swiss Cottage’s Janine Sachs said: “When Camden Council’s officials refuse to heed the warnings of the people who pay their wages and who know the area best, we cannot stop the developer starting demolition.

“However, we are here today to show that this is not the end of our campaign. It is not even the beginning of the end. Instead it is the beginning of a new phase; an undoubtedly hard battle through the courts where we will await the judge’s decision on the judicial review.”

The application by Essential Living has proved controversial, with a planning meeting on the Construction Management Plan suspended last year due to outbursts, and the eventual plan passing by one vote.

100 Avenue Road behind demolition hoardings. Picture: Polly Hancock100 Avenue Road behind demolition hoardings. Picture: Polly Hancock

The original planning application was rejected by the council before the Planning Inspectorate overruled it.

There has been unhappiness from the Save Swiss Cottage group over the use of the Swiss Cottage Open Space by construction lorries and the amount of traffic set to be funnelled through nearby roads.

If work continues, a 24-storey tower block will be built in the derelict office block’s place. It will provide 184 flats as well as retail and community space. It will take about three years.

Campaigners had hoped Camden Council, or the High Court, would impose a delay on work beginning until a judicial review could be granted or refused, as happened with the building of the next-door cycle superhighway 11.

Protesters opposing the demolition of 100 Avenue Road stand with placards in front of the site while demolition begins. Picture: Polly HancockProtesters opposing the demolition of 100 Avenue Road stand with placards in front of the site while demolition begins. Picture: Polly Hancock

Camden Council said: “The council has to act within the law and the rules of the planning regime. As a matter of law the submission of the judicial review claim against the approval of the Construction Management Plan (CMP) does not invalidate the planning permission or the approval of the CMP. Legally the developer has a valid planning permission and an approved CMP, and it is a matter for them if they choose to carry out permitted works. There is no breach of planning control and the council has no powers to stop the development. The council would be acting unlawfully and wasting public money for no purpose if it tried to do so.”

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