Alarm bells over '£1million' tower block flats by Hampstead Heath

Image of what the view of tower blocks in Murphy's Yard development will look like from Hampstead Heath.

Image of what the view of tower blocks in Murphy's Yard development will look like from Hampstead Heath, according to the developer - Credit: Peter Stewart Consultancy

Tower blocks could change the skyline from Hampstead Heath forever but most people will never be able to live there. 

More than a dozen tower blocks, four of which are between 14 and 19 storeys high, are included in the regeneration of Murphy's Yard by Folgate Estates as well as office and industrial space.

The current view of the Lido and beyond 2022

The current view of the Lido and beyond which will be marked by 19 storey towers if the Murphy's Yard application is approved - Credit: Polly Hancock

A two-bedroom flat could cost around £975,000 according to calculations by Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum (DPNF), based on sales value and size assumptions in the developer's plans.

A spokesperson for Folgate Estates said the numbers “are not correct and appear to be a misinterpretation of the information included in the planning application” but has not given further detail or alternative figures. 

Camden’s policies say that 35% of homes should be "affordable", but the planning application for the site south of Gospel Oak claims this number of "affordable" properties is not viable. 

Judith Silver, who lives in Gospel Oak, said: "The proposed housing blocks are concentrated at the northern end of the site, with a 'gateway' onto Gordon House Road.

"They have also been pushed over to the west,  alongside the rail track, where the blocks will maximally loom over us and take our light.

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"It  does not offer the type of housing the community needs or that local residents could afford to buy."

Maya de Souza, chair of DPNF, said despite the urgent need for new housing, the proposals "are going about it all the wrong way".

"The council’s own analysis of housing need is that over half of all new homes in the borough should be family housing of three bedrooms or above," she said.

"Lack of family housing is one reason families are draining out of the area and schools – like Carlton, right next door – are closing.

"Instead, what is being proposed is 88% one and two-bed flats, with three high rise towers and just 14 houses.

"This is the result of playing to the investor market that treats housing as a financial commodity and of trying to cram 825 homes into less than 1.5 hectares of the site.

"Alarm bells are ringing. The private two-bed flats are estimated by the developer to cost about £975,000, putting them well out of reach of almost all first time buyers.

"We are calling for a mix of housing tenures and types reflecting local need and enabling downsizing for elderly people, in recognition of the demographics of the area."

The Folgate Estates spokesperson did not respond to questions about the viability of affordable housing.

To comment on the application go to www.camden.gov.uk/search-for-planning-applications using reference 2021/3225/P