Construction Giant Challenged over Skyscraper Plans

A CONSTRUCTION giant buying up large parts of London is lobbying Camden Council to a build skyscraper at the cost of the community, local residents warned yesterday.

Supporters of the Save Swiss Cottage campaign have urged Camden to repeal Essential Living’s proposal to demolish the former Reuters building on 100 Avenue Road to build “long-term private rental” accommodation.

The proposed area for redevelopment currently houses one of the few local green spaces, a community centre, Hampstead Theatre and the homes of local residents, including caring facilities for people with disabilities.

Save Swiss Cottage member Sarah Gottlieb spoke to the Star about her fears over the construction, including its impact on the community and the inescapable ramping up of housing prices in the area.

In her view the project “doesn’t provide the permanent affordable housing that local families need.”

The campaign said it had placed several complaints with the council, so far to no avail, after Essential Living failed to provide a comprehensive consultation.

Ms Gottlieb highlighted how a 24-storey building would severely affect people living in the area by blocking sun light and providing an “eyesore.” 

The tower, which a Essential Living spokesman confirmed would entail 148 privately rented units and 36 affordable homes for sale, would also be placed right in front of one of the capital’s main traffic arteries.

“It is an obscenity really to consider putting residential accommodation over one of the most polluted traffic junctions in London,” added Ms Gottlieb.

Essential Living made history last year by purchasing another large plot on land in South London with the backing of London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Its redevelopment of Newington Butts in Elephant and Castle is also set to house young professionals with an income estimated to be far above the average local resident. 

In total, the company expects to “deliver 5,000 private rented homes over the next decade.”

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