CamdenNewJournal

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Controversial supermarket redevelopment approved by planners

Long-serving councillor Pat Callaghan warns giant scheme in Chalk Farm will let down 'the people we represent'

23 November, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

How the scheme could look – but opponents say the images are misleading

A £600m redevelopment of a supermarket site in Chalk Farm Road is set to go ahead after councillors passed plans by Barratts and Morrisons to create a new neighbourhood of 573 homes and shops this evening (Thursday).

The Town Hall’s planning committee voted seven-to-none in favour of the project with one abstention – meaning builders will start work on the controversial plan next year. The Morrisons supermarket site has been earmarked by developer Barratt for a new blocks which will reach up to 14 storeys in height.

The project includes new housing, a new superstore, a range of different sized shops, offices, a roof top chilli farm and public spaces. The application will also mean a planning deal of £11m given to the Town Hall towards off setting the effect bringing in around 2,500 new residents and workers will have on the Camden Town area.

The council chamber was full of people interested in what the future holds for the nine hectare land, used for storing railway cargo in Victorian times. Supporters of the Camden Goods Yard Working Group (CGYWG), who led objections, packed the public galleries.

Speaking in favour, Morrisons property director Charles McKendrick told the meeting his shop would benefit from being rebuilt. He said: “It is our job to create a fantastic environment for our shoppers and the community we serve. We are a listening organisation and this will be a vibrant new neighbourhood.”

Barratt’ss Attzaz Rashid said they had worked on designs for two years. He said: “Our proposals have been designed by award winning architects. It respects the heritage and we are confident aspirations have been met.” Mr Rashid added they would use 400 builders during construction and create 120,000 square feet of employment space.

Labour ward councillor Pat Callaghan, however, spoke against the project. She outlined how the CGYWG included residents and civic groups and neighbouring businesses and had drawn up a proposed framework for the land with the council.

She said: “Barratts say they have consulted but it has been meaningless. They have hidden the size of the scheme, and presented images that are misleading. They will create unpleasant canyons with unsafe and unattractive routes.” She added there was a lack of green space, saying a piece of land described as a wildflower meadow in the application was simply ‘a thin bit of scrub by a road,’ and went on to describe public spaces and homes as suffering from “…a dreadful lack of sunlight, daylight and privacy.”

Cllr Callaghan added: “This is a once in a life time opportunity. We should do better for the people we represent. A scheme could be back before this community in six months with the backing of the CGYWG.”

Architect Paul Witley, from the CGYWG, outlined what they said were the ‘failures’ of what was offered.

He said: “This scheme consistently fails to provide public spaces of sufficient quality, it fails to provide any new or improved access, it fails to provide the required green landscaped leisure route, it fails to have an adequate transport an highways strategy, fails to produce new housing of adequate quality, and fails to justify the harm created to heritage assets.”

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