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Neighbours in Primrose Hill fear basement dig traffic

Jenny McCririck - 'The Booby - appears in Town Hall chamber with plea for councillors to visit mews

29 March, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Planners met at Camden Town Hall on Thursday

NEIGHBOURS fear their lives will be turned upside down by construction lorries heading to a basement dig in a Primrose Hill mews.

Councillors heard warnings that emergency services would be unable to reach homes in the narrow Albert Terrace Mews, off Regent’s Park Road, at a council meeting on Thursday.

Jenny McCririck, who lives near the site with her husband, the racing pundit John McCririck, appeared in the council chamber, appealing for the planning committee to visit the site before reaching a decision.

“If the road is blocked by construction work on-site materials, there will be no access for emergency vehicles,” she said: “More than 51 people exit their houses onto this mews alone. This includes several elderly people, as well as children under the age of six. If ambulance and fire service need access it will be impossible. The road is so narrow I will not be able to leave my house if the road is blocked by delivery lorries.”

Jenny McCririck at the Town Hall

Ms McCririck, affectionately known as The Booby, a nickname revealed by her husband during his appearance in Celebrity Big Brother, warned that the road was so narrow in places that it could already be dangerous.

Keith Gordon, from the Prince Albert Road Residents Association, told the meeting: “I’m also concerned about the general need for a small mews house to have a large extension, and I do note that in Westminster the Labour councillors are saying that this just doesn’t seem to be an appropriate development project.” He said the council needed to make sure promises over building and traffic controls were put into practice.

Mr Gordon said: “The last time I spoke in this chamber was 15 years ago concerning the road surface on Prince Albert Road. I was assured by the councillors then that it would be a matter looked at – 15 years later we are still waiting. We therefore need to ensure promises are not only made but adhered to.”

The owner of the house, Andrew Cowan, told the meeting that works would not start during the school exam periods to reduce disturbance, and pledged a professionally managed project.

He said: “I’m a lawyer working in housing community associations and Sarah, my partner, is a state school primary teacher with a specialism in teaching deaf children. The point of mentioning that is we are not developers, and this is our home.”

Andrew Cowan

Mr Cowan said the couple had been together for five years and were now “planning their future together” and with children from previous relationships needed more room.

“We considered the option of moving as an alternative because we don’t want to cause unnecessary disruption, but to move to a home that would provide the additional space we need as a family would be uneconomic, especially as we want to stay in the area,” said Mr Cowan. “Having lived through works to other neighbours’ properties, we acknowledge their concerns. Much has been made that our application constitutes overdevelopment. Once completed, apart from the reinstatement of the kitchen window, no part of the development will be visible from the street or to any of our neighbours.”

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the scheme, which already had the backing of planning officers.

Camden’s transport strategy manager, Steve Cardno, said delivery trucks would be able to “reverse part way down” the mews before materials could be unloaded by wheelbarrow or by hand.

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