Under threat: These lush, green gardens are home to a host of wild birds and other animals and an essential 'lung' just off the highly polluted Finchley Road. They would come under threat if Camden permits this unwarranted development. The already fatally-congested area would become yet more chaotic were HGVs to partially block off Arkwright Rd.
By Red Frogger
An ‘appalled' group of neighbours are battling against Camden Council’s planning department, who have, quite inexplicably, recommended approval for an application to build two, large, multi-million pound houses in the green back gardens of Arkwright Road, Hampstead.
The neighbours have protested about the projected 'serious and unwarranted' overdevelopment, density and overpowering nature of the proposed structures, and the resultant deprivation of daylight, amenity and privacy for their homes, as well as the huge impact on already heavily congested roads during any construction.
Camden’s proposed acceptance of the application is contained in a 53 page Draft ‘Members Briefing Pack’ which contains several serious misstatements of historic fact as to previous buildings in the area, and various inconsistencies and contradictions regarding Camden's own Planning Guidance and Policies.
Was this to go ahead, it would mean significant construction in a conservation area, against Camden Council’s own stated policy.
The developers have already had to withdraw their earlier application to build three houses in the face of some 80 objections by neighbours and local community organisations. Although these would be ‘luxury villas’, the applicants would pay Camden Council just £58k in affordable housing compensation as part of a 106 Agreement; a tiny fraction of the millions that would be made when these new properties are sold on.
They point out that the ribbon of gardens reaching down from Frognal to the Finchley Road is one of the last remaining green areas and animal habitats in the vicinity. Camden’s apparent siding with developers flies in the face of current global and national concerns about environmental impacts through loss of trees and green corridors. (This is not an urban brown field site).
Camden dismisses the point that granting the application would create a precedent for other neighbouring owners to follow suit; yet another application to build 9 flats in the nearby garden of 17 Frognal is already being considered by the Planning Department.
There are also complaints that the Council , while working in close association with the developers, has not provided proper community consultation with neighbours most closely affected by the proposals, nor have the developers themselves done so, despite stating that they had.
No date for a hearing has yet been set.