CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Lives are blighted by these monsters in our midst

30 March, 2017

The Purchese Street site of the proposed 25-storey tower block in Somers Town

OPPOSITE City Hall is a higgledy-piggledy complex of tall buildings, all sizes and all shapes.

They appear to have been built randomly – at the whim of developers.

They are a blot on the landscape of a bend in the river Thames that was once one of the most beautiful and cherished parts of London.

Whenever the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, looks out of his window this is the ugly sight that meets his eye. It is hard to imagine what discerning tourists think of it.

Yet he clearly doesn’t mind. He, like Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, appears to have a soft spot for skyscrapers.

Witness the fact that neither he nor the planning minister Sajid Javid has called in the monstrous new high rise Paddington “Cube” which will soon, no doubt, straddle the landscape of our great capital.

Sadly, here in Camden the local authority isn’t innocent in these acts of desecration.

Otherwise, the idea of a 25-storey tower block in Somers Town wouldn’t have taken wing.

Planners and councillors have – on the surface – found sound arguments for the tower block.

They believe the sale of private flats in the block will fund a much-needed refurbishment of a local school as well as contribute towards the construction of smaller blocks of “affordable” flats.

Local objections about the loss of open space were brushed aside.

Land values in London will remain high, no doubt, but there is no certainty that the development will pay off as planned.

Developers have been known to fall flat onto their face. It is a gamble – and the people of Somers Town will have to bear the cost.

Dementia care

SERIOUS charges are being made against Camden Council that referrals to the Netherwood day centre are being sidelined in order to justify its closure.

We do not know whether there is justification for them but the council plan to close it and move day users to another centre which would allow the site to be put up for sale.

Opponents say Netherwood was carefully designed for dementia sufferers and fear the new centre is for more general use.

Local residents, as well as ward councillors, oppose the plan and feel pressure to save money is the rationale behind it – understandable in light of the government’s austerity programme.

The political pressure of next year’s elections may decide the issue. It could be a vote loser for Labour – and a plus for the Lib-Dems.

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