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Fears over intrusive housing in West Hampstead

PUBLISHED: 14:48 28 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:13 07 September 2010

Susanna Wilkey CONTROVERSIAL proposals for a big five-storey block in West Hampstead are being considered by a planning inspector after the conclusion of a public inquiry. Developer SLLB want to build 39 flats including a penthouse at One Mill Lane togeth

Susanna Wilkey

CONTROVERSIAL proposals for a big five-storey block in West Hampstead are being considered by a planning inspector after the conclusion of a public inquiry.

Developer SLLB want to build 39 flats including a penthouse at One Mill Lane together with an underground car park and an open space.

Camden Council refused permission and the architects appealed - despite having been allowed instead to build a four-storey, 28-unit block with underground car park and a green open space for the community.

Last Thursday, residents attended a hearing to put forward their opinions on why the scheme should be scrapped.

Jane Evans, from the Mill Lane Development Residents' Action Group, said: "All of our members are deeply worried about the impact of this development on the character and amenity in the area.

"We object to the excessive size of the development and the adverse impact it will have on the neighbouring properties and the consequent loss of amenity.

"We believe this development will cause harm to the neighbours, through noise, vibrations, subsidence and artificial light."

James Earl, vice-chairman of the Fordwych Road Residents Association, said: "There is widespread opposition. It is a very large development and not in keeping with the area. There are also concerns how such a modern building will fit into an area where most of the houses are more than 100 years old.

"Many properties in the area also suffer from subsidence and we are concerned this will exacerbate the problem. We also disagree with the underground car park and believe it should be a car-free development."

Design and conservation officer Charles Rose, of Camden Council, added: "The proposed development fails to respect the built form and historic context of the area.

"The negligible visual relief and depth to the prominent east elevation and setting back of the upper floors would have little influence on reducing the overall mass of the proposed development. As a result, the bulk and mass of the development results in an over-dominant form which has a detrimental impact on the surrounding area."

But architect Daniel Smith, of SLLB, said the responses and suggestions from residents, officers and councillors had been listened to carefully and where possible modifications and compromises had been made.

"It is our opinion that our scheme will make a positive contribution to the area," he said.

"Not only because of the well-designed contextual proposal but also because it is a mix of affordable and private housing and for the reason that the area will benefit from a landscaped open space."

Inspector Roy Foster will make his decision in the coming weeks.


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