100 Avenue Road March 2017 UPDATE
Essential Living, apparently in breach of safety requirements applied by the Secretary of State, is now attempting to demolish the existing building before all its foundation plans are complete, in place and approved by London Underground Ltd.
There is a three-year deadline before the planning permission for this construction expires. Not only would premature demolition cancel out Essential Living’s three-year deadline, it also appears suspiciously clear that this application is being rushed through by both Camden & London Underground, before all the plans are complete to ensure that Essential Living gets to demolish the existing building in time before TfL constructs its controversial CS11 scheme this autumn. The structural engineer for the Save Swiss Cottage group has reported a long list of incomplete specifications. It indeed appears as though these plans, as feared, are seriously wanting.
In March Camden planners were asked by Save Swiss Cottage group to a) ensure that Essential Living and its agents do not commence any work or demolition until all detailed foundation plans are fully complete and approved, and b) to immediately re-register application No. 2016/6699/P as a “variation” not a “discharge and so make this a public consultation.
Also to obtain and publish an independent assessment/report through sealed bids of the final, detailed foundation plans from a reputable, external civil engineering company. We await the outcome.
19 February 2016: 100 Avenue Road: Permission Granted
The Secretary of State has followed the Planning Inspector’s recommendation to allow the appeal. Permission has been granted for Essential Living to demolish the existing building at 100 Avenue Road and replace it with a 24 storey tower block and a part seven, part five storey building.
The Planning Inspector's Report:
Summary and Recommendation
385. When considering applications that may affect a listed building or its setting, section 66 (1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 requires special regard to be paid to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses. Section 72 (1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 requires special attention to be paid to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of a conservation area.
386. The Framework notes that when considering the impact of a proposed development on the significance of a designated heritage asset, great weight should be given to the asset’s conservation. The Framework describes the setting of a heritage asset as the surroundings in which it is experienced. Its extent is not fixed and may change as the asset and its surroundings evolve. Elements of a setting may make a positive or negative contribution to the significance of an asset, may affect the ability to appreciate that significance or may be neutral.
387. In enacting section 66(1), Parliament intended that the desirability of preserving the setting of listed buildings should not simply be given careful consideration by the decision-maker for the purpose of deciding whether there would be some harm, but that it should be given ‘considerable importance and weight’ when the decision-maker carries out the balancing exercise. Even where ‘less than substantial’ harm is identified, Section 66(1) requires considerable importance and weight to be given to the desirability of preserving the setting of a listed building when carrying out the balancing exercise. The same applies to conservation areas.
388. In giving considerable importance and weight to the heritage assets, I find, taking the effects individually and cumulatively, that the special architectural and historic interest of these would be preserved and any effect on significance would be neutral. In relation to the Hampstead figure sculpture I consider that there is significant potential for the setting of this to be enhanced and the effect on the library is likely to be more positive than neutral.
389. However, I also found that in relation to conservation areas there would be some harm to appearance through views of the proposal and this should be added into the planning balance.
390. 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.
391. I accept that it is an attractive design and will fit in with the area, but to my mind this must be an expectation of new development and therefore adds minimal weight to the planning balance.
392. I have found that there would be some impact on trees, although much of that would be in the short term of the development, but that weighs against the development. While every effort is made in terms of conditions and obligations to mitigate the impact of the construction of the development, there will inevitably be some disruption because of vehicle movements, and some small local increase in particulate production and this also weighs against the development. However, that is tempered by the fact that more housing is needed and development will need to occur somewhere.
393. While I have found that the heritage assets would not be harmed, there will be an impact on views from around the area which many people have indicated that they would find intrusive. There is also considerable local opposition to the proposal142, particularly in relation to the impact on the Swiss Cottage Open Space, so I consider that some weight against the proposal should be put into the planning balance for that harm. In respect of the Swiss Cottage Open Space, there will be some loss of sunlight, small changes to the microclimate and additional building surrounding it and again, while I have not found that unacceptable, but the increase in shading is a harm that needs to be weighed against the proposal.
394. In terms of the impact on views identified and if the Secretary of State disagrees with me in relation to the interpretation of policies in relation to the need for development to not only preserve, but also to enhance assets, I would conclude that the public benefits of the development far outweighs the harm.
395. Overall, I conclude that the social, economic and environmental benefits of the proposal make it sustainable development in terms of the Framework and that the substantial benefits considerably outweigh the harm that has been identified.
396. I recommend that the appeal be allowed for the demolition of the existing building and redevelopment with a 24 storey building and a part 7 part 5 storey building comprising a total of 184 residential units (class C3) and up to 1,041sqm of flexible retail/financial of professional or café/restaurant floorspace (classes A1/A2/A3) inclusive of part sui generis floorspace or potential new London Underground station access fronting Avenue Road and up to 1,350sqm for community use (Class D1) with associated works including enlargement of the existing basement level to contain disabled car parking spaces and cycle parking, landscaping and access improvements, within the terms of the application, Ref 2014/1617/P, dated 28 February 2014, subject to the conditions set out in Annex A, which I recommend be imposed and which I consider are necessary to achieve a satisfactory standard of development and supported by the planning obligations.