Future of ‘vital’ launderette is uncertain again

Change of use application at site hit by fire

Thursday, 31st March — By Tom Foot

England's Lane Launderette

The launderette never reopened after a fire

THE future of a popular launderette that was destroyed by a fire is hanging in the balance after its owner put in an application to change it into a shop.

Julian Landau has put in a change of use planning application for the England’s Lane Launderette in Belsize Park.

Just before the pandemic, in March 2020, the council rejected a similar application after a community campaign to save it.

Its former manager told the New Journal before Christmas she was hoping the launderette would reopen with more of a focus on dry cleaning.

Phil Cowan, who campaigned against the laundrette closure three years ago, said: “The England’s Lane Launderette has proved to be a vital community asset for people in Belsize Park and Primrose Hill for decades. There is no other similar facility in the area for a significant distance.

“It is also important to note that this premises is much more than somewhere you go to wash clothes. It provides a friendly and safe environment where everyone can meet and discuss issues-local or otherwise. I would strongly oppose any changes through planning that might threaten this very useful and special place.”

Camure Ltd’s application does not say what precisely would replace the launderette, only that it would be “retail”.

The fire last June

Since September, building owners can apply for a new range of commercial-use Class E categories for their premises.

Julian Landau, who runs the dry cleaning firm Camure Ltd, declined to comment when contacted by the New Journal twice over the past fortnight.

The launderette has been shut after four fire engines and 25 firefighters were called to a blaze in June 2021.

At the time, popular manager Ceila King told the New Journal the fire had been caused by self-heating tea towels removed from a tumble dryer. She could not be reached this week.



A petition had been launched calling for the England’s Lane Launderette to stay open as well as concerns expressed by residents at a nearby homeless hostel saying they rely on it to do their laundry.

The Belsize community rallied around with a petition signed by 406 people with a special campaign meeting being held where Ms King said the business was “here to stay”.

Belsize ward councillor Tom Simon said: “The council made the right decision to refuse the application in 2019 and I hope will reach the same conclusion this time.

“Before the fire the launderette was providing an important service to the community, which would benefit from it being reopened. There are people, often vulnerable, who relied on it before and whose lives have been harder since the fire closed it.”

Artichoke – a family run greengrocers with a shop in Heath Street, Hampstead – was due to open a juice bar in the unit.

After three months, Camden Council refused the application arguing: “The proposed change of use, by reason of the loss of a launderette which provides a specific and essential service and social function, would be detrimental to the character, function, vitality and viability of the England’s Lane neighbourhood ­centre.”

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