CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

100 Avenue Road, it’s only the money that counts!

21 March, 2019

How Essential Living’s tower will look when complete

• WAS it a tiny glimmer of intelligence we saw at the last construction working group meeting monitoring the destruction of the modest and tasteful 100 Avenue Road office building and its replacement with a set of concrete slabs which will dominate the whole of Swiss Cottage for decades to come?

We refer to the statement from Essential Living (Swiss Cottage) Ltd, indicating they were “in discussion” with Transport for London examining the possibility of using direct access from the whole of the building’s frontage on the A41 / Avenue Road, rather than just the tiny corner at the north east end.

This ridiculous route is being used because TfL refused to allow a pit lane using one of the five lanes running in front of the building. This route crosses all the main pedestrian access paths from Belsize Park to shops, bus stops and the tube station, used by thousands of people a day.

It takes trucks across in front of the main tube station exit, into the Market Square – even when the Farmers’ Market is in full swing – and out by Mora Burnet House, and then through the narrow, highly congested, Winchester Road with homes on all sides.

The safety and health of all residents and users of the leisure facilities at Swiss Cottage, including thousands of school children, are being harmed by the inevitable noise and pollution these heavy vehicles generate. You could not devise a more damaging and dangerous route.

But now London mayor Sadiq Kahn has taken the CS11 cycle superhighway at this point off the table, surely TfL can remember that its role is to balance all the impacts created by this overdevelopment and use the least damaging route?

Will TfL now allow all the construction work to take place from the A41? They have no excuse not to use this safer and less intrusive plan which local campaigners have long demanded.

Of course, this still leaves the possibility of Camden Council’s parkland managers allowing EL to use a large section of the park between the site and the library, destroying half a dozen of the beautiful flowering cherry trees for at least a decade… but surely there is some intelligence there too?

We live in hope that sanity will prevail: the whole disaster was brought upon us by Camden’s planning department, but we know there is not much intelligence at work there. Money is all that counts for them.

Now Camden’s officers must remember that their main role is to act in the best interests of the community which helps pay their wages, not just to make life easy for developers, or TfL!

DAVID REED & MONIKA CARO
Save Swiss Cottage Action Group

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