Future of Hampstead art school secured as vast King’s College development approved

Residents from the corner of Platts Lane and Kidderpore Ave NW3 are concerned about the impact of th

Residents from the corner of Platts Lane and Kidderpore Ave NW3 are concerned about the impact of the proposed new development on the opposite corner. From left Stephen Dale Petit (with plans), Martin Craxton, Birte Leimkulehler and Sarita Mohapatra outside the site to be redeveloped. - Credit: Archant

Hampstead School of Art is celebrating after a luxury housing development was given the green light despite opposition from the likes of pop artist Sir Peter Blake.

A map of the development site

A map of the development site - Credit: Archant

The school will get a new home on the vast King’s College London site, which covers nearly 10,000 square metres between Kidderpore Avenue, Platt’s Lane and Finchley Road.

Student halls, derelict buildings and the school’s current premises will make way for 128 flats and a new state-of-the-art pavilion to house the college.

The plan, which will see two-thirds of the buildings demolished and the rest renovated, was approved by Camden Council’s development control committee last Thursday.

At the eleventh hour, the art school also secured a temporary home until the pavilion opens in 2016. It will move into King’s College-owned Kidderpore Hall, directly opposite the site, for three years from September.

Principal Isabel Langtry said: “It’s very exciting. What Barratt West and King’s College came up with is a groundbreaking plan to put a specialist fine art centre in the middle of a brand new planning development, which is quite an extraordinary thing to do.

“They have put a pulsating heart in the middle of the new development – we are thrilled to be that pulsating heart.”

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But campaigners who were given backing by Sir Peter, famed for designing The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, and Hampstead actors Tom Conti and Peter Egan were left bitterly disappointed by the decision.

Some 159 people who signed a petition against the scheme on the grounds of scale and density now face five years of works which will be carried out in two phases.