Murphy's Yard tower blocks would 'fundamentally change' city farm

Kentish Town City Farm August 2020.Waiting for breakfast

Kentish Town City Farm goats waiting for breakfast - Credit: Polly Hancock

An inner-city farm in Gospel Oak has warned planned development at Murphy's Yard would have a detrimental impact on its work.

Kentish Town City Farm director Eira Gibson has objected to the proposed development, outlining the long-term impact on people and animals who use "oasis in the city".

The majority of the 825 residential units would be at the north end of the 62, 288m2 Murphy's Yard site in Gospel Oak.

The four-acre farm site is nestled between railway lines and local authority housing with an entry in Cressfield Close.

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

Ms Gibson said in her objection the charity is very concerned about the impact the development would have on people’s enjoyment of the farm.

"The size and bulk of the development is not in keeping with the neighbourhood," she said.

"Beyond the impact to our human friends the building work is likely to affect the wellbeing of our animal residents and the proposed towers will fundamentally change the environment around the farm, impacting on the wind and therefore wildlife we are currently home to."

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She added: "The towers are a physical representation of the divide in our community, with tenants and residents of these new flats literally looking down on the people of Gospel Oak.

"‘Views of the city farm' will clearly be a selling point for these apartments. It is a great irony that if built they will change so much of what makes the farm so special." 

One of the horses at Kentish Town City Farm. Picture: KTCF

One of the horses at Kentish Town City Farm. Picture: KTCF - Credit: Archant

The farm is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and was the first of its kind in the UK. 

The charity offers lifelong learning, outdoor therapy and education for children and adults with special needs – and anyone needing respite from urban life.

A spokesperson for developer Folgate said the company has been working with the farm in the past and is aware of concerns.

"It is worth noting that the buildings closest to the farm’s paddock are much further away than guidance expects and are separated by the busy north London railway line," they said.

"We are confident that the buildings we consulted on, amended, and are now proposing will not pose a threat to the welfare of the staff or animals at the farm as suggested and that the mitigation measures we want to develop will be helpful once the paddock is rebuilt following the landslide earlier in the year.”