Camden Council approves homeless hostel redevelopment in Dartmouth Park

Designs of the new hostel

Designs of the new hostel - Credit: Darc Studio

Camden Council has approved a new hostel for homeless families in Dartmouth Park.

The town hall’s planning committee signed off the demolition and redevelopment of the hostel in 2 Chester Road on Thursday (April 22).

Objections were lodged on the grounds of “poor” design, its massing and the quality of accommodation.

The new three to four storey building, across three blocks, will have 50 flats including 30 studios, 16 one-beds and two wheelchair accessible units.

The homes will all be accessed from a central communal courtyard. 

2 Chester Road

The existing building at 2 Chester Road - Credit: Fabian Wilkinson

Cllr Flick Rea (Lib Dem, Fortune Green) said that, while in favour of the application as a whole, its green ceramic tiles reminded her of a public toilet – and that the design “didn’t look like Highgate”.  

Cllr Oliver Cooper (Con, Hampstead Town) compared it to a “warehouse” and claimed that the plans ignor the Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Plan, causing “huge harm” to residents. 

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Cllr Jenny Mulholland (Lab, Gospel Oak) said issues of design would be best judged by future occupants of the hostel.  

The current hostel is two storeys, on the junction of Dartmouth Park Hill. The site was built in the late 1970s and it has 26 rooms with shared facilities for single homeless people. 

In a written submission, Maya de Souza, chair of the Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum, stated that the group supported additional housing for homeless families.  

But she opposed the Chester Road development over “poor” accommodation and design, and said the demolition of the existing building would infringe Camden’s environmental objectives.  

What the new hostel will look like

What the new hostel will look like - Credit: Darc Studio

Bethany Cullen, a planning manager for Camden Council, said the new hostel would positively contribute to the neighbourhood, but that it would be “unique” in not replicating existing designs in the conservation area.  

Architect Hari Philips said the homes had been “really carefully” designed so that despite being smaller than normal housing, they will feel “spacious” internally.  

He said the plans were tailored to meet the needs of residents, and that the central green courtyard would sit at the heart of the scheme, giving residents a secluded communal space. 

The hostel redevelopment was passed by seven votes to two, with one abstention.