New O2 Centre plans confirm tower heights and 'large supermarket'
- Credit: Landsec/AHMM
The developer looking to transform the site of the O2 Centre in Finchley Road has revealed more detail of their plans to build 1,900 homes.
We now know that buildings closest to Finchley Road are likely to be four to six storeys tall, with towers towards the centre of the site planned at this stage to be 12 to 16 storeys in the north and eight to ten in the south.
Launching a new consultation, the site's owner Landsec unveiled illustrations showing how its "masterplan" has evolved, with an extra public green space in a bid to allay neighbours' concerns.
Landsec has committed to re-providing a "large supermarket" on site, and to making sure shops and leisure facilities are interspersed throughout the sprawling site between Finchley Road and West End Lane.
Its FAQs state Landsec is "in discussions" with Sainsbury's.
The firm has revealed it will be first applying for detailed planning permission for towers which will make up the middle section of the site – and include the new central green space and around 600 homes. It said it hopes around 35% would be affordable housing.
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In the new consultation, Landsec writes: "The reality of providing large numbers of affordable homes – while also ensuring 50% of the scheme is new green public space – means some parts will need to feature taller buildings."
But not everyone is yet convinced by the plans, with community groups still concerned by the proposed height of buildings, and the need to fit almost 2,000 homes on the site.
It will only be applying for "outline" planning permission for the rest of the site at this stage. Camden Council will be asked to approve – or not – the broad strokes of the scheme with details to be decided later.
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John Saynor, from the West Hampstead Amenity and Transport group (WHAT), told the Ham&High: "There’s no significant change to the number of homes since their first consultation – the figure given now is 1,900.
"We think this is too many – too many people crammed into the available space.
"In other words, the development is too dense. This figure should be substantially reduced."
He said the group is concerned about Landsec's plan to apply only for outline planning permission for much of the site, saying "building work could drag on", with "no guarantee" of when community facilities including a medical centre would be built.
Lucy Findlay, on the committee of the Combined Residents' Associations of South Hampstead (CRASH), echoed the concerns about the density of the plans. She said she is worried that "as a result of committing to more public space, the height of more of the buildings has been increased which detracts from creating a community spirit for local residents".
She cited issues around the design of the buildings "bearing no relation" to area, and said she wanted to hear more about the work being done
Cllr Oliver Cooper, leader of Camden's Conservative opposition group, criticised plans to "stack up thousands of tiny flats in skyscrapers".
He said to do so without public transport improvements or work to revamp Finchley Road and West End Lane is "not the recipe for sustainable communities".
He added: "Camden must demand mansion blocks that fit in to the area, not skyscrapers that dominate their neighbours, with more homes being family homes and more being affordable to buy. The site is a £200 million jewel in the crown of Landsec's property empire, and Camden shouldn't sell the local community short."
Landsec's project lead, Timothy Trillo, said: "We want to create an inclusive place that works for everyone.
"A place that integrates and connects the communities of Finchley Road and West Hampstead. We’re excited to share our latest thinking on how we deliver this. We’ve been delighted with the feedback received so far."
He pointed locals towards the new consultation page at o2centreconsultation.co.uk.
Landsec will hold two webinars discussing the evolved plans with the public on June 10 and June 14.
Camden Council is running its own consultation on the site and is to hold a public meeting itself on June 16. It had been scheduled for May 26 but was rescheduled after complaints about the lack of notice. To register, visit camden.gov.uk/development-management-forum.