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View from the chamber: ‘Disorganised ​and distorted’ plan for 100 Avenue Road tower added to anguish

PUBLISHED: 13:00 14 March 2019

Archant

Soon to be towering over Belsize and Swiss Cottage wards is the 100 Avenue Road tower.

At 81 metres, the building will be the tallest in the north of Camden. It was thought that the developer had recently jumped the last major hurdle before building this problematic scheme.

The Construction Management Plan (CMP), which dictates how it will be built, was finally accepted at the second attempt by Camden’s Planning Committee after the chairman’s casting vote broke the deadlock.

While the tower will negatively impact the community however it is built, this decision was a serious blow. The plan would send lorries down Winchester Road and through Swiss Cottage Market, which can hardly be expected to survive 14 HGV movements per day. This was despite concerted, cross party efforts by councillors to ask the developer and Transport for London to re-consider the access arrangements.

TfL would not agree to the temporary closing of one of the five entrances to the Underground station or the relocation of bus stops.

In November, my Conservative colleague Oliver Cooper wrote to Sadiq Khan, but the mayor waited months before writing back to agree with TfL’s perverse decision. Concerned local residents launched a claim for a judicial review into the deeply disorganised and distorted presentation of the case and into the multitude of material factors that the process of granting of approval for the plan overlook. The outcome is keenly awaited.

What’s worse is that, despite reassurances from the developer and the Camden Council, the CMP guidelines for the construction traffic were broken in the first few weeks of demolition. Lorries were recorded by residents reversing into the site contrary to the permitted scheme and posing and obvious danger in a crowded area.

If anyone sees anything which looks unsafe practice around the site, please contact me via steve.adams@camden.gov.uk and I will ensure Camden’s enforcement takes appropriate action.

Later in the year, this construction project will be compounded by the works to the Chalcots Towers. This will have to be carefully coordinated with 100 Avenue Road and eventually HS2. I will be monitoring the build-up to these works and keeping a close watch as they start on site.

The burden of construction on residents is made worse by the need to deal with the ongoing construction process through liaison meetings. These are well attended but can highlight the limitations of private individuals on the one hand and large, well funded developers on the other.

It is vital that residents are supported and I will be pressing for a far better method of control that would protect residents and enable them to have greater confidence in how the council handles these works.

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