Now tower block developers ask Michael Gove to overturn council's planning decision

Essential Living launches appeal to secretary of state after planning inspector rejected its amendments earlier this month

Friday, 4th February — By Tom Foot


The former 100 Avenue Road site as it is now 

THE Swiss Cottage tower block developer has appealed to the government’s ‘levelling up’ secretary Michael Gove in a bid to overturn a decision by Camden Council.

Essential Living had wanted to change the materials used in its 24-storey plans at 100 Avenue Road.

Essential claims to be facing a £70million deficit if it is forced to build the “unviable” scheme it first won planning permission for in 2014 due to rising costs caused by Brexit and Covid.

Last month, a planning inspector upheld the council’s decision not to reject an attempt by the developer to remove all affordable housing from its scheme.

The Town Hall is now contacting those that took part in the planning process to see if they will resubmit evidence.

“An appeal has been made to the Secretary of State against the London Borough of Camden for approval of details refused,” said the bulletin.

The appeal is the latest move by the developer in what is becoming one of the longest-running planning sagas in Camden’s history.

How the tower is meant to look – but work has been paused

The future of the building site at 100 Avenue Road is likely to play a central part in the debate in Belsize and South Hampstead wards in the run up to the May council elections.

Amid hundreds of objections to the scale of the tower back in 2014, the council had originally rejected planning permission for the project as a whole.

But Essential referred that decision to the former secretary of state, Greg Hands. He overturned the council’s decision in 2016.

This paved the way for the developer to demolish the huge site before claiming in 2020 it could not afford to construct its tower block and affordable rent flats, due to be run by the Peabody, and new home for the Winch.

It had wanted to remove all the 36 “affordable” units from its tower, arguing the savings would make the entire project viable.

While its plans have been described as “outrageous” be councillors and residents, the Jersey based company says it has been left with the no option, adding: “It is in everyone’s interest to see the site developed and making a positive contribution to the local area as soon as possible.”

The appeal will be determined on written representations rather than a public meeting.




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