Former North London poly faces demolition threat – owners launch fresh bid to pull down 1929 building

Thursday, 21st July 2011

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THE former North London Polytechnic building, which dates back to 1929 and is considered a key feature of Kentish Town’s architecture, is facing a new threat of demolition after its owners appealed against a decision to stop them knocking it down.

Councillors and residents celebrated a victory six months ago after a bid to renew planning permission to replace the Modernist red-brick building with a block of flats was rejected. 

Designed by renowned architectural firm Riley and Glanfield and currently a Pizza Express restaurant, it is currently being considered for listed status. 

But it may not survive long enough for English Heritage experts to award it protection.

Permission for the flats was originally granted to the owners five years ago, but when work failed to get started, developers had to reapply for permission.

The Town Hall’s planning committee turned them down last December, saying the building should never have been put at risk in the first place after hearing scores of objections to the scheme, including expert advice from conservation group the 20th Century Society.

An appeal against the decision to save it was lodged at the Whitehall planning inspectorate this week – meaning a government planning expert will decide if it stays or goes.

The Prince of Wales Residents’ Association  chairman Alan Morris, who campaigned to save the building, said: “This is one of the most important buildings in our area and it is crazy that it is under threat. The application was rightly thrown out in December.”

He added that his association wanted the Kentish Town conservation area, which ends just metres away from the building, to be extended to include the former polytechnic, and urged people living in Kentish Town to write to the Whitehall inspector calling on them to dismiss the appeal.

Planning consultants DP9, representing the owners, were contacted by the New Journal to comment but did not do so.

No date has yet been set for the appeal. 

Published: 21 July 2011
by DAN CARRIER

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