Houses in Jack Straw's Castle car park approved
- Credit: Archant/Quinlan Terry Architects
Plans for two houses in the car park of Jack Straw's Castle have been approved.
The news - delivered by planning inspector Hayley Butcher - has disappointed groups including the Heath and Hampstead Society, Camden Council, and the City of London Corporation (CoLC) who have vociferously fought the plans.
But Albany Homes developer Barry Angel and architect Quinlan Terry were delighted at the news, and said their plans were carefully designed to fit in the landmark location.
Mr Terry's work and his connection to the architect who rebuilt Jack Straw's Castle - Raymond Erith - were cited by Ms Butcher among reasons to approve the scheme on appeal.
In her ruling she also pointed to the benefit of two new family homes in the area.
And although she wrote of "harm to the living conditions" of people living in the new homes, she said this was outweighed by planning benefits.
She added that "the proposal would bring about improvements" to the area, and added the "rare circumstances" of Mr Terry's connection to Mr Erith "speaks to the high quality of the design of the development".
Mr Terry, a former pupil of Mr Erith's, spoke passionately at a public planning inquiry about how his scheme was inspired by the famous old pub building.
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Camden Council's planning chief Cllr Danny Beales said the town hall was disappointed with the outcome over the "extremely sensitive" site.
He added: "Unfortunately, the Inspector took the view that the development would enhance the setting of the listed Jack Straws Castle and the wider conservation area rather than harm it.”
Mr Terry said his firm was pleased the link to Raymond Erith had been recognised and added there was "real value" in architects learning from one another in that way.
He also emphasised the design had been a team effort and said: "More importantly, this all points to the fact that classical architecture is the right way to consider adding to the fabric of our towns and cities."
Barry Angel, whose Albany Homes owns the site, told this newspaper he was "absolutely delighted" with the news, adding: "We are really pleased with the result but unhappy about the whole process and how difficult it is to get planning consent in Camden nowadays."
He said the design had been carefully produced to allay the fears of local objectors.