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Swiss Cottage tower block approval: Community may still fight back, says politician

PUBLISHED: 13:04 19 February 2016 | UPDATED: 17:18 19 February 2016

Avenue Road development

Avenue Road development

Archant

Developers could still face a fight over controversial plans to build a £100m tower block in Swiss Cottage.

Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland Picture: Polly HancockCllr Claire-Louise Leyland Picture: Polly Hancock

Today it was announced that Greg Clark, the secretary of state for communities and local government, has upheld an appeal, allowing the plans to go ahead.

Developer Essential Living plans to demolish the building at 100 Avenue Road and replace it with a tower block containing 184 flats.

After the announcement, Belsize Councillor Claire-Louise Leyland told the Ham&High that opponents would be weighing up a judicial review.

Cllr Leyland said: “It would need to be something a lot of people want to seek.

Tulip SiddiqTulip Siddiq

“People feel very strongly about this.

“We’ll be talking to local groups, and if there’s a view to take it to the next stage that’s what we’ll do.”

Cllr Leyland, who leads the opposition Conservative group at Camden Council said the decision highlighted the need for a local plan in Belsize.

“People are very upset,” she said.

“One of the things we realised is that we need to get a neighbourhood plan in place.”

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq has hit out at the decision.

She said: “I am dismayed by this decision.

“The scheme is far too big, offers too few affordable homes, and will have an unacceptable impact on the local environment.”The community said ‘no’. The council said ‘no’.

“But the Tory government said ‘yes’.”

She branded it “a very sad day for local democracy”.

The existing building was formerly home of the Ham&High offices.

A report by planning inspector Graham Dudley said: “Overall there is considerable social benefit in the provision of the proposed housing and affordable housing, and by the provision of space for community use.

“The potential for the underground station to be improved would also be a significant benefit. There would also be an enhancement to the frontages of the buildings at ground level compared with the existing arrangement that could improve the vitality of the area.”

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