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Plan to erect more housing blocks in West Hampstead attacked by residents

PUBLISHED: 09:47 03 July 2015

The proposals would see 156 West End Lane knocked down and replaced with eight-storey housing blocks

The proposals would see 156 West End Lane knocked down and replaced with eight-storey housing blocks

Archant

A proposal to demolish offices in the heart of West Hampstead and replace them with eight-storey housing blocks has caused fury among some neighbouring residents – with designs described as a “blot on the landscape”.

A view of the development, outlined in green, looking from Iverson RoadA view of the development, outlined in green, looking from Iverson Road

Developer A2Dominion released plans that would see the current home of Travis Perkins building merchants in West End Lane torn down and about 200 residential apartments built in its place.

The three eight-storey blocks would also provide retail, community and employment space.

The current building, which is in the process of being sold to A2Dominion by Camden Council, is described by developers as “incongruous with its surroundings” and having a “negative impact”.

The proposals, A2Dominion says, will bring “much-needed” housing.

But many residents viewing the plans at a public consultation last month were dismayed at the scale of the development.

A “Save West Hampstead” opposition campaign has been set up by surrounding residents to fight the proposals.

Ian Ferrie, a resident of Lymington Road which backs onto the proposed development, said: “The magnitude of this development is astronomical, especially as it is right next to a conservation area. It’s a blot on the landscape.

“The infrastructure also can’t support the number of apartments proposed.

“We’re at cracking point already.”

The proposals are likely to be the first big test case for a new Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) for the area – brought in under the Localism Act 2011 and which would provide local planning policy for future developments. A referendum on its implementation is to be held on July 9.

James Earl, chair of the Fortune Green and West Hampstead Neighbourhood Development Forum, said A2Dominion’s current designs were “unlikely” to fulfil the NDP’s policy, citing the height and bulk as the barriers.

Travis Perkins is also against the plans as it will see them lose their home of 35 years.

Martin Meech, group property director for Travis Perkins, said: “The proposals from Camden Council and A2Dominion are ill-conceived and entirely motivated by money and getting the maximum cash value for the site, irrespective of the impact on us and the neighbours in Lymington Road.

“The Council is essentially saying that existing businesses, jobs and residents don’t matter and that this inappropriate plan is somehow better and suitable for West Hampstead. It isn’t and we will be fighting it alongside Save West Hampstead and others who are equally appalled by these absurd proposals.”

Theo Blackwell, Camden Council cabinet member for finance, said a condition of the sale of the property to A2Dominion had been that at least 50 per cent affordable housing be provided as part of any development, but admitted the decision in the end would be down to the council’s planning committee.

Danny Lynch, A2Dominion’s regional development director, said: “The design team are working through all of the feedback we received on issues such as the frontage with West End Lane, landscaping and height with the aim of coming back with detailed designs after the summer.”

A public meeting on the proposals will be hosted by the Lymington Road Residents’ Association on July 14, 7pm, at 1 Dresden Close.

The Save West Hampstead campaign website can be found here.

To see more information about the proposed development, visit 156westendlane.co.uk..

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