CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Is Sadiq Khan content to see a community being bulldozed out of the way?

29 November, 2018

Illustration of how the proposed tower at Swiss Cottage could look

• THE anger of those of us fighting the over-development at Swiss Cottage has focused on the developer, Essential Living (Swiss Cottage) Ltd, who have made not a single concession to the local community in the five years of this battle. And the fact that it is five years, and counting, confirms how stupid they have been.

If they had come back with a more modest proposal at the start – one respecting the site and the needs and feelings of local groups – by now they could have a building in operation and earning money, which is all they care about. Instead they face more months of opposition and mounting costs.

But the reality is that we have been betrayed by every public body supposed to protect us from such greedy and uncaring developers, from the secretary of state for housing, the communities and local government, via the Planning Inspectorate, and on down to the lowliest planning officer in Camden.

Between this motley crew, we have ended up with an appalling over-development incapable of being built except by imposing intolerable burdens on all local residents and the visitors to the leisure facilities.

The plan approved by Camden on November 15 will see hundreds of trucks a week passing through the area up and down Winchester Road, in and out of the market square and even around key parts of the Swiss Cottage park, bringing noise and pollution right to the heart of the community.

Which brings us to the final public body’s stupidity: Transport for London refused to even discuss a safer alternative: doing all the trucking access from the A41 where they inevitably arrive and leave!

TfL is still poised to convert this whole section of road to a bus-and-bike lane yet refuses to allow the use of one lane for the trucking traffic. How stupid can you get? Can no one help in such an awful situation?

Is Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, happy to allow a local community to be bulldozed out of the way when a safer alternative is available? I have asked but had no reply to date. So it is back to the community to act in our own defence.

DAVID REED
Save Swiss Cottage Action Group

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