CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Looming tower blocks are not what the people want

01 April, 2021

The O2 centre’s redevelopment will have a huge impact on the people living all around the area

• SO now we know the truth – in response to the O2 Centre developers’ consultation exercise, there were numerous and very strong objections to any tower blocks being built on the site.

The sycophantic, prettily designed, and coloured consultation website asks numerous questions about respondents’ preferences, giving the impression that all their views will be considered, from shopping requirements to bus stop location.

Yet at the recent public meeting, the developers Land Securities (Landsec) let slip that the site “is expected to include 16-storey blocks [that is, a whole collection of them] and take 15 years to build”. So much for consultation; and they haven’t even asked for planning permission yet.

So knowing how useless and toothless Camden’s planners are, particularly the planning committee, we are likely to be faced with another Swiss Cottage potential development – that one was planned to be 22 storeys.

It is insulting and a gross impertinence for developers such as Landsec to pretend they have obtained the views of the public before ignoring the most important concern, that of gross over-development and potential wind tunnels with looming tower blocks over what they were trying to sell us as an attractive garden environment.

And that doesn’t include the potential loss of Sainsbury’s and its car park used by hundreds of shoppers there.

All in all it seems as though any respondents to the consultation are wasting their time objecting to the most serious aspects of the development, with the developers trying to assuage their fears with promises of pretty gardens and trees.

No doubt they will just build their tower blocks anyway. I would like to be proved wrong. But in the chaos of over 15 years as a building site anything could happen.

JOHN STRATTON
Thurlow Road, NW5

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