Developers and council ‘co-designed' plans for 02 Centre site, Tories claim

Regen chief says Camden talked to Landsec to push for best deal

Tuesday, 8th March — By Richard Osley

dannybeales

Camden’s regeneration chief Councillor Danny Beales

THE Town Hall and developers are ‘co-designing’ the massive overhaul of the 02 Centre site on the Finchley Road, it was claimed last night.

The opposition Tories said Camden should be doing more to stop high rise buildings being used once the shopping complex has been delivered.

Labour regeneration chief Councillor Danny Beales looked irritated by the line of questioning and repeated that it was not Camden’s project – and that developers Landsec had drawn up the plans.

The outline proposals include 1,800 new homes with the tallest part of the redevelopment scaling 15 storeys.

Camden’s planners have received a raft of objections with opponents claiming the site is being over-developed.

Conservative finance spokesman Councillor Andrew Parkinson told last night’s (Monday’s) full council meeting: “The suggestion that it is not Camden’s plan, it’s Landsec’s plan – I read with great interest the report that went to cabinet on Wednesday that said ‘the council has been working with Landsec to codesign the 02 redevelopment plan’. And that’s the reality, isn’t it? That the redevelopment has been ‘co-designed’ with Camden Labour.”

He added that Camden should “designate that area as unsuited for high rises as allowed under the London plan”.

Plans for the opportunity site in Finchley Road

Cllr Beales said it had been wise for Camden and the developers to have talked and part of how planning works on big sites.

The council has a pre-application process and a place shaping team – and we are fully engaged in those processes with the developer. We didn’t decide to completely ignore them because they’re going to bring forward a planning application,” he told councillors.

Cllr Beales said after recent residents meetings he had heard that “we need to push for more transport, step free access – we were need to push for more affordable housing, more green space, we need to push for a medical centre”.

He added: “These are the things that residents are pushing for: so it’s right that this council engaged with the developer and pushed for these things to be delivered. Turning our backs and not speaking to them until the day of the planning committee will do nothing to deliver these things.”

Conservative councillor Andrew Parkinson asked questions about Camden’s role in negotiations

Cllr Parkinson said that “in the most recent planning application and planning statement, the developer expressly says that Labour’s draft allocation allows for a far denser development at the centre than even 1,800 flats it’s applied for”.

He added that this draft plan now had “weight” because the council had not withdrawn it.

Cllr Beales, in response, said: “This council has a draft site locations policy with a much lower number than is proposed by the developer – but it is up to developer to decide its own plans and it’s up to this council to consider how it judges them at planning committee.”

A decision on the plans will not take place until after May’s council elections.

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