NW5 tower blocks will rob us of sunlight, say Lido objectors

Lido, city farm and Heath managers raise concerns over Murphy’s site plans

Monday, 14th February

pics2022feb10 Image 2022-02-10 at 10.53.25

How the new development could look

A POPULAR outdoor swimming pool terrace sun trap and an urban farm could be cast in shadows if plans for three new towers are given the go-ahead in Kentish Town, objectors have claimed.

High-rise blocks reaching up to 19 storeys have been proposed for the Murphy’s yard land, now at the centre of a proposed multi-million pound redevelopment.

Designs lodged at the Town Hall show up to 825 new homes, a range of businesses and public space including a pedestrianised route from the Tube station to Parliament Hill Fields could be constructed.

But civic groups and residents have lodged a raft of objections over the size, scale and density proposed.

And swimmers say they fear the blocks will cast long shadows over the Grade-II listed Parliament Hill lido pool – a claim the developers, Folgate, deny.
Lido cafe owner Patrick Matthews said: “The towers remind me of those giant cruise liners coming into Venice.

“The view might be nice from the ship, but it ruins it for everyone else. We now have an idea of the scale, and independent modelling shows it will overshadow the lido in winter months – robbing swimmers and walkers on Parliament Hill Fields valuable sunlight.”

Lido regular Dr Andrew Robins said: “The skyline their images show would be unwelcome.

“I cannot believe something that could block out sunlight in midwinter is being considered. We recognise the need for more housing, but if you couldn’t see winter sun until around midday on Parliament Hill Fields, that would be a tragedy.”

Further objections have been filed by the West Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum, which fears the project will have an unacceptable impact on homes bordering the site and the Kentish Town City Farm.

It wants a rethink where homes could be placed on the six-hectare construction depot, which the Murphy’s firm has owned for more than 50 years.

Forum member Alice Brown said: “Homes would be dwarfed by the new high-rise. People in Kiln Place, Oak Village and Cressfield Close would have high buildings looming over them.”

They added there was a worrying lack of detail as to how the towers would look close up in plans filed at the Town Hall.

“Although some long-distance views are provided, there are none from the worst affected areas,” she said. “The tranquillity and seclusion of Kentish Town City Farm would be hit by the close proximity of three very large towers. The farm would be spoilt forever.”

Heath managers the City of London are also ready to raise concerns. “We understand the benefits that new housing can bring,” a spokesperson said. “But we have several concerns regarding the potential impact this development could have on Hampstead Heath. We are a making a representation to ensure that the important value of the Heath is considered.”

A spokesman for Folgate and Murphy’s told the New Journal they had followed guidance from the Town Hall regarding measuring impact on neighbours and the Heath.

They said: “Throughout the extensive consultation process we have been at pains to provide a fair assessment of a wide variety of views from many locations, all as agreed with Camden officers. We believe that this information gives a proportionate and fair representation of the proposed scheme. The three taller buildings have been very carefully designed to reflect the level changes of the site and to respect adjacent uses. This includes the lido which is some 200m away and is not in any way overshadowed by the development. With a long history of site ownership, Folgate strives in the development of the site to draw on the very best in design, to provide a safe environment and to integrate with the surrounding area.”

A consultation period on the scheme ends in two weeks’ time.
Letters, pages 20, 21

Related Articles