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Major facelift for Kentish Town car wash triangle

Opponents say new block will be 'too bulky'

28 February, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Artist impression of how the development could look, filed for public view at the Town Hall

OBJECTIONS have emerged to a major new development which will turn a car wash on a key patch of land in Kentish Town into a six-storey block of homes.

Developers behind the scheme in Kentish Town Road say they are answering a need for housing in the area and have come up with designs for the triangle of land close to the underground station which match the look of the area.

But, as Camden’s planners mull over granting consent for the work, people living nearby have already filed objections.

Historian Gillian Tindall, who wrote The Fields Beneath, has warned that the proposals are “too bulky and far too high for a key site at the heart of Kentish Town and adjacent to listed buildings and conservation areas”.

She adds: “Already, one bad recent mistake was made in the immediate area in allowing the site of the old Tally Ho pub to be grossly overbuilt, destroying a valid open space and views. The resulting block has not proved popular, either with commercial takers on the ground floor or with potential flat-dwellers on the upper floors. The plans now proposed epitomise the greed, insensitivity and ignorance of too many would-be developers.”

Craig Duncan, another objector, says: “I strongly object to these plans unless a fair percentage of these flats are to be realistically affordable as this area is still being bludgeoned with social cleansing.”

Camden has been warned that a view that the new building would be the same size as the Assembly House pub opposite is unfair because the bar’s extra height came from a decorative finial rather than an extra floor.

The application has been filed by company, KTR Car Wash Project, which has hired property agent Savills to submit its application for building permission.

Its paperwork says the site was surrounded by hoardings, which were often fly-posted, creating “a very negative and dilapidated appearance to the street” for the past 30 years. It describes the site as an “eyesore”.

As well as creating a block of 14 flats, a restaurant or retail unit will be provided on the ground floor. The pavement at the bus stop outside will be widened. Savills says a public consultation has shown enthusiasm for improving the site.

“The building’s massing has been designed to align with local building lines, particularly the Bull and Gate public house and the terrace of properties to the north,” the application says.

It adds that the site’s layout meant it was difficult to provide affordable housing and still make the scheme viable, pointing out that “the realistic alternative” was that the project would not be pursued and other benefits would be lost.

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