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Council halts work at Pugin vicarage

Historic building's facade will be removed and then reinstated after a revamp of the site

18 December, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Danny Beales

REMOVAL of the brick facade of a vicarage in Kentish Town designed by Victorian church builder Edward Pugin has been stopped by the Town Hall – after developers failed to submit a plan showing how the work will be carried out.

The 1860s vicarage in Fortess Road is set to be razed to the ground and its three flats replaced by nine homes – with the historic, patterned brick front rebuilt under a planning deal with the Town Hall.

Concerned neighbours contacted the New Journal as work began last week, fearing the owner, property firm Leycam, was taking down a celebrated landmark.

Edward Pugin was the son of renowned Gothic architect Augustus, who with Charles Barry designed the Houses of Parliament. Edward was responsible for more than 100 churches before he died aged just 40.

The vicarage was once connected to a church next door, pulled down without permission by another developer and replaced by flats in 2001.

Under planning permission granted five years ago, the vicarage facade will be removed while the rest of the five-storey extension is completed. It will then be put back in place. However, the Town Hall sent officers to the site on Monday and told workers to down tools until the developer had lodged a construction management plan – needed to demonstrate how work will be done safely and without impacting on the neighbourhood.

Planning chief Councillor Danny Beales said: “The developers of 41 Fortess Road are required to submit a construction management plan to the council for approval under the terms of their planning permission. “As no construction management plan was agreed ahead of works starting, we contacted the owners demanding that they stop work immediately or we would seek an injunction. We have now received written confirmation from the owner that all works will stop on-site until they have met their obligations as set out in planning permission.”

He added: “The construction management plan seeks to minimise the impact of development on the surrounding environment and transport network, so it’s important we ensure that one is agreed.”

Ko Architects, which worked on the project, told the New Journal that the historic facade had to be removed because it was “structurally unstable”. “The works undertaken behind the front façade are part of the reconfiguration to convert the property into flats.

Camden Council have confirmed that the planning permission is valid and implemented,” the firm said. It did not respond to requests for further comment.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: “We have had to fight before to stop it being knocked down – so we are all watching very carefully to make sure the facade is carefully returned to its original state. We were shocked when the church was lost so we are all determined to make sure the vicarage is properly looked after.”

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