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Stop the bulldozers protest at Swiss Cottage tower block site

Objectors say work should be frozen until judicial review on trucks plan is complete

31 January, 2019 — By Richard Osley

How Essential Living’s tower will look when complete

DEMONSTRATORS who warn that Swiss Cottage will be wrecked by the building of a controversial skyscraper have appealed for work to be stopped until a judicial review is complete.

Opponents to the “construction management plan” for the demolition of the old Hampstead and Highgate Express newspaper offices in Avenue Road and the building of a 24-storey tower are challenging the use of residential roads for site traffic and a route through the market next to the Swiss Cottage Open Space.

The plan was approved by a single vote at Camden’s planning committee last year, leading to a crowdfunded High Court challenge.

Bulldozers for developer Essential Living are expected at the site on Monday, however, with the case yet to be heard. They are due to be greeted by protesters with placards at around 9am.

Conservative councillor Oliver Cooper was yesterday (Wednesday) urging the council’s legal department to issue a stop order to prevent the demolition until legal proceedings are complete. He warned that the council should “for the sake of prudence” not leave itself open to legal claims if it was later found to have unfairly approved the management plan.

Janine Sachs, of Save Swiss Cottage, urged opponents to join the demonstration on Monday morning, adding: “One can only hope that the council will do the right thing with enough pressure.”

A council spokesman said: “Legally the developer has a valid planning permission and an approved CMP, and it is a matter for them if they choose to carry out permitted works. There is no breach of planning control and the council has no powers to stop the development. The council would be acting unlawfully and wasting public money for no purpose if it tried to do so.”

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