CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

The community is fizzing with ideas for the 100 Avenue Road site and green space

25 June, 2020

• AFTER seven years of fighting the monstrous and unwelcome development planned to overshadow Swiss Cottage Green Space, residents are relieved and jubilant that developers Essential Living have announced they will be “closing” all works on the 100 Avenue Road site including removal of the large crane forthwith.

At last week’s construction working group, Essential Living’s senior project manager told us “…due to unprecedented circumstances” the company decided to take “a strategic view… across all our jobs (and) projects”, and there will be “a pause period”.

He said: “we don’t see a main contractor coming on to site following JF Hunt this year at all… and to be honest we’re still reviewing up until next year as well”.

When asked whether the company might sell the site, he said they were “considering everything at the moment”.

Because the original office block, now demolished, served as a screen against the noise and pollution from the gyratory, and given Essential Living’s track record in Sittingbourne, Kent, where their site was left fallow for at least six years, the need to ensure that we are not left with a derelict plot has been central to local objections throughout.

Camden’s planning officials reassured us they would not allow this to happen here, but they have yet to comment on the latest turn of events.

At every stage of this process, the authorities who are supposed to look after this community have failed to do so.

For seven years, we have watched with dismay as our council officers, the Mayor of London, and finally the secretary of state appeared to listen to an anonymous pension fund rather than this community over the future of our beloved Swiss Cottage.

It is deeply ironic that it has taken a global pandemic to wipe out the global pension fund behind this unpopular development. There will be no tears for Essential Living or their backers M3 Capital Partners in NW3.

This community is fizzing with ideas for the future of the 100 Avenue Road site and the green space.

We would love the opportunity to formulate an alternative project that will be in keeping and harmony with the surrounding environment and directly benefit the Swiss Cottage neighbourhood and its visitors, providing us with the genuinely affordable, low-rise housing, greenery and flexible work space that we desperately need.

For now at least we can enjoy the rest of the summer on the green space without the noise and dust of construction, so welcome to those of us who have been locked down in flats without any outdoor space.

We rejoice in the remarkable way that this community came together to fight for so long to bring us to this point, and we hope we can soon look forward to a better future all round.

JANINE SACHS
Save Swiss Cottage

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