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Neighbours fight plans to turn Camden Town depots into seven-storey homes complex

Fears new development alongside railway tracks will block out sunlight

21 February, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

The depots in Camden Town

A PROJECT to turn a courtyard with small businesses in Camden Town into housing is facing stinging criticism.

Centric Close, off Oval Road, has been bought by developers Fairview Homes who hope to persuade the Town Hall to give them the green light to build a block of flats that would reach up to seven storeys high.

But a swathe of people living nearby are cam­paigning to have the scheme thrown out, claim­ing the project would invade their privacy, is overdevelop­ment on a small site, would lead to the loss of jobs, block out sunlight and that its only real aim is to make large profits for a developer.

The new project would soar up to seven storeys high on land that is sand­wiched between a railway line and the canal, provid­ing 49 flats for private sale, 16 for social rent and 11 that can be jointly bought.

It is currently used by a windscreen glass repair firm and a hire company, among others.

Oval Road resident Primavera Boman-Behram told the Town Hall the plans would take away natural light from her home and those of her neighbours. Ms Boman-Behram’s mother was the renowned expressionist dance teacher Hilde Holger, and her home has a library of work relating to 20th-century dance.

Primavera Boman-Behran

She wrote: “My house has been in my family since the early 1950s. It houses an extensive archive that dates back to the 1920s. I am being forced to move, but without enough money to move anywhere as central as I am now. The proposed development will completely change and ruin the skyline.”

She added: “My house is a very old Georgian one without strong foundations or walls.”

She added the area had already been heavily developed and included in her objection fears concerning overground water levels – citing leaks in her cellar. She also questioned the construction management plans for a road that is already busy and narrow.

Her views have been echoed by resident Nicolette Sorba. She told the Town Hall the new building would cast shadows over the street, and added: “I oppose this building being turned from a business to a residential site. This change of purpose will have a very negative impact on Oval Road homes. It will create a lot more congestion and on demands for parking. Furthermore, noise pollution and environ­mental pollution will increase significantly.”

She also cited that the 76 new homes would offer views directly into her home, robbing her and her family of privacy.

In the planning application, Fairviews design team state: “The existing buildings are of no architectural merit and make no contribution to the appearance of the area.”

They note that there are a number of listed buildings in Oval Road, and that because of its position as a brownfield site in Camden Town, redeveloping it for both housing and ground-floor businesses would be “wholly appropriate and in accordance with the general thrust of planning policy”.

And Fairview also dispute whether people in the area are overwhelm­ingly against the scheme. They added: “Since purchasing the site, Fairview has undertaken an extensive consultation exercise, which is ongoing. Overall, it can be concluded that there is a clear appetite within the local community for the redevelopment of this site and feedback has helped shape the final proposals and the analysis of impacts.”

The look of the scheme has been referred to Camden Council’s own Design Review Panel. The developers quote from its report: “The panel finds much to admire in the designs by AHMM for Centric Close, which promise high-quality development, of a scale and character sympathetic to the site’s Primrose Hill context.’

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