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Does the public-private homes strategy really deliver?

07 December, 2018

An illustration of how the new tower in Somers Town could look

A NEW glitzy brochure appears to have been recently published by Camden Council in an attempt to catch the eye of a developer willing to link up with a proposal to jointly develop a site for a 22-storey skyscraper in Somers Town.

Everything is ready to go – the masterplan has been given an award by the Royal Institute of British Architects as well having approval by the planners.

Missing is a developer ready to invest in it.

Clearly a prudent developer would need to be certain of a sound return before he opens his cheque book. Hence, a renewed effort by the council to try and lure one.

But residents are angry the skyscraper robs the built up area of green space, and that it will contain “100 per cent private apartments”.

The fact that it will be a “private” block for 54 “private residences” is emphasised again and again in the brochure. In their defence, the Labour planners say the developer will provide 44 “affordable” flats nearby. But, exceptionally, it will not be a “mixed” tower block.

It is all part of the council’s strategy to build “affordable” flats effectively paid for by developers. Critics say it is tinkering with the problem.

Meanwhile, public consultation ends tomorrow (Friday) on the future of a massive industrial estate in Regis Road in Kentish Town in what could be the biggest opportunity for a council housing development on a scale not seen since the 1960s and 1970s.

Will Labour abandon its “public-private” strategy – and return to what it was good at, building council estates?

Vanishing post offices – long queues

WHY do public consultations – with rare exceptions – come down on the side of whoever wants to introduce a new scheme?

It happens so frequently people believe the odds are fixed against them.

We are disturbed to see the Post Office, emboldened by the positive “results” of a consultation, are going ahead with a proposal to downsize its only outlet in Camden High Street, Camden Town.

Over the years, the Post Office has begun to vanish from our high streets – first casualty was in Parkway, the second in Kentish Town, now it will be run at the rear of a stationery shop in the High Street.

Whereas this small “mixed” outlet can operate efficiently in a small neighbourhood, won’t it lead to long queues in an intensely built up area like Camden Town?

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