XUL Architecture

1 June 2015 100 Avenue Road: Planning Application and Appeal
Read Final Outcome February 2016 here

100 Avenue Road

The Belsize Residents' Association (BRA) has been writing to members to let them know what the Association is doing about its continued objection to the proposed development at 100 Avenue Road. The BRA is asking for support and for a financial contribution.

Last year, Camden rejected Essential Living’s planning application to build a 24-storey tower alongside Swiss Cottage open space. Many BRA members supported the local campaign, since the damage to the open space and to our conservation areas would be unacceptable. Essential Living appealed against Camden’s decision. The case will be heard at a planning inquiry before an independent inspector in July 2015.

Essential Living has engaged an expensive and strong legal team and Camden will defend its decision as the main party.

The Inspector would like to hear evidence about the impacts of the proposal on local residents. BRA has taken advice from a specialist barrister who has informed BRA that a strong, expert-led case can be made. Until now, the association has paid for advice using its reserve funds and achieved results using volunteers: members have written objections, gone to meetings, lobbied the Council. The BRA Committee members have drafted a persuasive Statement of Case which the barrister they consulted saw and liked. The Inquiry offers an real opportunity to make the case but puts a high premium on independent, expert evidence.

100 Avenue Road

The BRA knows the importance that members attach to this matter and will be using as much of the BRA contingency reserve as possible in order to cover the costs. But that will not be enough. The BRA calculates that the costs will be in the region of £15,000.

Given the nature and complexity of this case, BRA cannot guarantee that it will win but is keen to do its very best for its members and for the local Belsize community as a whole.

The Statement of Case focuses on the impact of the tower on our conservation area and on Swiss Cottage Open Space. BRA is liaising with other groups who intend to focus on other issues and may seek funding for that purpose. The Association will, however, use all contributions to fund the BRA case.

Please act now and please give generously. Please make cheques payable to the Belsize Residents’ Association and send them to BRA c/o Anne Stevens Flat 1, 20 Netherhall Gardens, NW3 5TH. Online payments can be made to Belsize Residents’ Association, Santander Bank, Account number: 19524004 Sort Code: 09-01-55. Do please ensure you include the reference “Donation”.

Fundraising Progress – 28 June 2015
In a very short time we have raised well over £10,000. We have not yet reached the total of £15,000 which was our target, and we know that the more we have, the more we can do. So all further contributions will be very gratefully received. We are extremely grateful for the speed and generosity with which our members – and others – have contributed. Thank you all very much.

Written statements about the merits of the case – so called proofs of evidence – had to be submitted to the Inspector holding the appeal by last Tuesday 23 June. The BRA, jointly with Eton Avenue Residents Association, Winchester Road Residents Association and Cresta House Residents, submitted seven documents. These were an independent expert’s report on the impact on the open space, an independent expert’s report on the impact on heritage assets, a statement from the architect of the existing building about the planning constraints under which it was designed, and four statements from local residents (Winchester Road, Cresta House and two from Eton Avenue). We have also appointed a specialist barrister to put our case at the inquiry, where she will be able to cross-examine Essential Living.

We will be providing a full record of our expenditure, but at the moment we can say that independent expertise has cost us some £9,000 so far. We estimate from here onwards that the Inquiry itself will cost at least £10,000. We think we can just about cover these costs from what we have raised and our reserves. We have thus felt able to commit to them.

Should we raise more we shall spend it first on commissioning “rebuttal evidence” – statements on the points where we disagree with Essential Living’s views – from our experts, and then on further days of our barrister’s time at the enquiry.

We feel we must once again emphasize that we cannot in any way guarantee that we shall be successful in ensuring that the Inspector recommends against the development, nor that the Secretary of State, who has the final decision, will not approve it. But our case is strong and we are trying to ensure it gets the best chance possible.

To find out more please contact info@belsize.org.uk or telephone 0207 794 0874

See Final Outcome Februarey 2016 here


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