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West Hampstead residents protest against ""monstrous"" housing

PUBLISHED: 15:57 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 07 September 2010

Residents protest against proposed development Prory Rd/Woodchurch Rd,West Hampstead

Residents protest against proposed development Prory Rd/Woodchurch Rd,West Hampstead

© Nigel Sutton 17 Redington Rd,London,NW37QX. Phone 020 7794 3008. email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Residents have slammed plans for a monstrous housing block in West Hampstead, saying it is out of keeping with the area. Octavia Housing and Care plans to demolish Olive and Douglas Waites houses in Priory Road to make way for a new four-storey block wi

Residents have slammed plans for a "monstrous" housing block in West Hampstead, saying it is out of keeping with the area.

Octavia Housing and Care plans to demolish Olive and Douglas Waites houses in Priory Road to make way for a new four-storey block with 56 flats.

But residents are furious with the designs and claim the block will destroy the character and atmosphere of the area.

Sue Estermann, chairman of Crash, a campaign group representing 300 residents in the Swiss Cottage conservation area, said: "The housing association is planning to replace these buildings with a monolithic block which has absolutely no sympathy for the conservation area.

"There are some really hideous parts to the proposals. We have tried engaging with Octavia and they have tinkered with the details of the plans but they haven't addressed our main concerns. Crash has about 300 members who are against this proposal and several people have joined the group because they are so upset about the plans. We are putting together a petition to object.

"This four-storey block is overpowering. It is a great monstrous building in the middle of attractive buildings and we do not think it will enhance the area which is what new buildings in a conservation area should do."

The campaigners are also concerned that there is no front door, and the entrances will be around the side.

Another resident and group member, Eric Bergsagel, added: "One of our concerns is that the developer are trying to put too many people onto the site. I think there are currently 263 habitable rooms per hectare and they want to increase this to something like 430."

A spokeswoman for Octavia said: "The buildings have reached the end of their useful life. It is not cost effective to refurbish them and to maintain them would be unsafe. So we have to knock them down.

"We had a full two-day public consultation in July. There was a range of opinions. We have been working with the tenants of the block to come up with these plans for a modern looking building which which we have tried to make fit. We are trying to meet the needs of the local community because there is a need for affordable housing."

The consultation continues until October 15. To comment visit www.camden.gov.uk

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