Controversial luxury flats plan with triple-depth basement in New End thrown out by Camden Council

PUBLISHED: 10:45 29 November 2013 | UPDATED: 10:45 29 November 2013

School children staged a last-ditch protest outside the former nurses' home on Monday. Photo: Nigel Sutton

School children staged a last-ditch protest outside the former nurses' home on Monday. Photo: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email

A luxury flats plan that many feared would blight the education of hundreds of children has been unanimously rejected by town hall planning chiefs.

The controversial proposal to bulldoze the old nurses’ hostel in New End, Hampstead, and replace it with a seven-story block complete with 17 luxury properties and an underground carpark was thrown out by councillors sitting on Camden Council’s development control committee last night.

Parents, pupils, teachers and residents who had packed the public galleries in the council chamber greeted the decision with raucous cheers of delight.

They had feared the build would blight the education of some 800 youngsters at three nearby schools – Heathside, Christ Church and New End.

It would have taken years to complete and seen lorries going in and out of New End every 11 minutes for hours on end at the height of construction.

The work would have included digging 36ft below ground level for a triple-depth basement including space for 17 cars.

Councillors raised a litany of concerns, including about the lack of any affordable housing within the scheme and the appearance of the proposed development, which many felt would detract from the conservation area.

Melissa Remus Elliot, headteacher of Heathside Preparatory School in New End, said: “It’s a miracle – I wanted to cry for joy.

“It’s the biggest relief in the world, because I could not have left the kids there.”

Opponents feared the lorries would pose a safety risk to children.

They were also concerned about the dust, noise and the potential for damage to neighbouring buildings from the basement excavation, including to historic Christchurch.

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