'Protecting our beloved high streets from permitted development rights'

100 Avenue Road

100 Avenue Road - Credit: Essential Living

Last week the planning inspector upheld Camden’s decision to stop the 100 Avenue Road developer u-turning on their commitments. Their attempts to reduce the number of affordable homes on the site have been blocked.

This long running saga is not over, but this decision shows once again Camden is a borough that can be counted on to stand up for residents and to fight for the affordable homes our residents need.

The hard work by the council and residents of Swiss Cottage to hold the developer to account demonstrates that tackling the housing crisis is something that we care deeply about. The decision sends a powerful message to all developers; that they must deliver on their promises to residents.

The council’s planning committee made a similar decision recently in the south of the borough where another developer sought to water down their commitments and dramatically reduce the number of affordable homes. Again, this was rejected. 

Camden Councillors 2018

Cllr Danny Beales says the saga of 100 Avenue Road is not over - Credit: Kareen Cox

As well as standing with residents to protect homes, we are also taking action to protect our beloved high streets from "permitted development rights" – rules introduced by the government that allow developers to bypass communities and turn high street premises into private housing without planning permission.

We are pressing the government to allow Camden to introduce "article 4 directions", which remove this option from developers. Without this, we risk the loss of valuable business spaces, shops, and thousands of jobs. It would cause irreparable damage to our high streets and undoubtedly lead to low-quality, unaffordable housing.

As well as fighting against the worst excesses of unsustainable development, we are intervening to correct market failure - leading by example through our own council house building programme, the largest in a generation. 

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We have moved over 1,000 residents into the new council homes and have plans to deliver over 1,000 new council homes across Camden. We have already completed the refurbishment and rebuilding of many of our schools and we are building new community centres and facilities.

Where the market cannot, or will not act, we are stepping in to keep Camden a place where everyone can afford to live, and ensuring residents have the good quality public services they need to achieve their potential. 

Cllr Danny Beales (Lab, Cantelowes) is cabinet member for Investing in communities, culture and an inclusive economy at Camden Council