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Ghetto fears from West Hampstead housing block

PUBLISHED: 11:36 15 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:11 07 September 2010

RESIDENTS have condemned plans for a housing block in West Hampstead, saying it will create a ghetto out of keeping with the area. Octavia Housing and Care submitted plans in October to demolish Olive and Douglas Waites houses on Priory Road to make way

RESIDENTS have condemned plans for a housing block in West Hampstead, saying it will create "a ghetto" out of keeping with the area.

Octavia Housing and Care submitted plans in October to demolish Olive and Douglas Waites houses on Priory Road to make way for a four-storey block.

They were rejected by the council, and the association has since consulted with residents and tenants. Now, it has resubmitted plans which have been met by many with a lukewarm reception. Campaigners say the block is still too big and will overpower the character of the conservation area.

Sue Estermann, chairman of Crash - a campaign group representing 300 residents in the Swiss Cottage conservation area - said: "The plans are not all that different from before. The main reason for not being happy with them is that they would be building a ghetto in the middle of what is a community.

"There is no entrance to the street from the buildings which really cuts it off and you can only get in through a small gate. It is very foreboding and divisive because there is no connection with the street."

Swiss Cottage councillor Andrew Marshall said: "Most people are not very pleased with this planning application. It has improved slightly since the last application but it is not very sympathetic to the area.

"I am certainly not in favour of it and it is causing quite a lot of uproar and they should go back and think again."

A spokeswoman for Octavia said: "We have been working very hard with the tenants and they are very happy with it which was our main priority. We have also worked very hard with the planning consultants and Camden Council to come back with proposals which have incorporated some of the tenants' original concerns and the concerns of Crash.

"We feel we have got to a much more effective and improved scheme in terms of meeting the majority of needs and trying to please the majority of people.


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