Vote could safeguard area’s history
Residents to decide on vision which maps out future planning guidelines for Dartmouth ParK
16 January, 2020 — By Dan Carrier
The seven-storey Haddo House, in Highgate Road, is a prominent landmark
A REFERENDUM to ratify a new tranche of planning law in Dartmouth Park is set to be held in early February.
The vote – open to residents only – will decide whether Camden Council adopts the Neighbourhood Forum’s vision for the area. If the electorate returns a “Yes” majority, the plan will be officially adopted by the Town Hall and become part of planning guidelines.
The Forum covers a swathe of streets from Gordon House Road through to Highgate Newtown.
Established seven years ago with the aim of preparing a framework for the long-term future of the neighbourhood, volunteers have consulted residents to see what matters most to them.
The Forum’s patch has a range of architectural styles, from the Georgian period to the present day.
Under the plan, which is monitored by an independently appointed Whitehall inspector, a series of historic features currently not listed nationally nor on the Town Hall’s Local List of heritage assets would have extra protection.
They include the Brookfield estate, found on Croftdown Road, and its surrounding streets. Built for St Pancras borough council between 1922 to 1930, it was modelled on Hampstead Garden Suburb.
The nearby Whittington estate, designed by architect Peter Tabori and built between 1972 and 1978, is recognised as a celebrated piece of local authority housing.
Other landmarks include Haddo House – a seven-storey block facing east on Highgate Road.
Architect Robert Bailie began work on it in 1965 and the Forum describe it as “a fine example of a mid-1960s development of council housing, with unusual features that give it distinctiveness and flair, including the translucent service towers that glow when lit”.
The work of architect Ian Hamilton, who built the York Rise estate for the St Pancras Housing Improvement Society in 1937-8, is also recognised in the plan.
Built on railway land owned by the London Midland & Scottish Railway, the five blocks were named after railway and engineering pioneers, including Brunel, Faraday, Newcomen, Stephenson and Trevethick.
The estate design features formal gardens and communal spaces, as well as drying grounds with washing lines.
The 1881-built Greek Orthodox church, in Gordon House Road, will enjoy added protection.
Designed by architect Thomas Warner Goodman as a Catholic apostolic church, the bricks used in its neo-Gothic creation did not have to travel far: they were fired in Kiln Place, Gospel Oak.
Ghostly reminders of traders from the past are noted through adverts painted on to the sides of buildings. One, on the corner of the Truffles Deli in York Rise, boasts Maids’ caps and aprons for sale, while another, on the corner of what is now the Bistro Laz restaurant in Highgate Road, offers beanfeast parties.
Ensuring Dartmouth Park is a place that a range of people can afford to live in is a key plank of the plan. The Forum’s statement says they seek “to ensure that Dartmouth Park is a vibrant neighbourhood with a balanced and diverse community”, citing the role of social housing.
Forum chairman Ben Castell told the New Journal: “The Neighbourhood Plan is a genuinely community-led vision for the area we all cherish.
“It’s important that residents get along to their polling station to vote yes on February 6, for two main reasons.
“First, the Plan will help to preserve Dartmouth Park’s special character – green and historic, with great community mix and services.
“Second, it will provide a strong voice on the major development proposals that are coming forward right now. The main one is at Murphy’s Yard, where there are plans for hundreds of homes, jobs and services.
“The Neighbourhood Plan demands meaningful community engagement and provides the basis for a well-considered development that we can all be proud of. That would be one that draws on the best design of the neighbouring areas and has housing and services that are affordable and accessible for local people.
“These things are at the heart of the Neighbourhood Plan.”