Town Hall's list of small patches of estate land to build on

Residents living in Haddo House ready to object

Monday, 11th July — By Dan Carrier

july7 Image 2022-07-11 at 7.47.04 AM (12)

Residents of Haddo House are concerned by ‘overdevelopment’

SMALL pockets of public land are set to be built on in a bid to ease Camden’s housing crisis.
Housing chiefs have drawn up a list of possible sites for new homes including rundown garages, spaces between homes and what they think are underused patches.

Residents were asked to point out places where they thought small-scale, council-funded housing could be built, and surveyors are due to look at each idea in September.

Suggestions have included a car park in Saffron Hill and land hidden behind a mothballed underground-access building in Belsize Park. As the ideas arrived at the Town Hall, one contributor suggested building homes over a stretch of the Regent’s Canal, insisting it was possible to create an eye-catching landmark.

Other brownfield sites include a bus garage in King’s Cross, railway sidings and embankments, and the gable ends of council blocks and a play park in West Hampstead.

But while the council has been encouraged by the public response, officers and councillors are also bracing themselves for opposition at some sites, including a car park earmarked for possible development next to the Grade II-liste Haddo House in Highgate Road, Kentish Town.

Haddo House dates from 1965 and was originally built for the St Pancras Housing Association. It now has a mixture of council-owned homes and flats bought under the “right to buy” legislation.

Coleen Ling, who has lived in the block for 26 years, said there was almost blanket opposition to losing space valued by the people already living there.

She said: “Nobody wants this. These plans are a case of cramming people together. It will impact badly on the green space and it is overdevelopment.”

Haddo House has been praised by architecture critics for its symmetry – and the plans as they stand would alter a careful look designed by architect Robert Bailie.

Ms Ling said: “It is a listed building, the grounds are part of its look, but this is not just about the aesthetics. It is about people being able to access outdoor space, and that space being recog­nised to have a value.

“It isn’t just something to be looked at as an asset to be developed.”

Promotional material sent out by the Town Hall states the car park is not well used – and alternative space has been found onsite.

Regeneration chief Danny Beales

It added that funds raised would go towards improving the estate and no green space or trees would be lost. It said surveys had shown the Haddo House car park could work as a plot and “initial conversations” were being held with residents.

The Town Hall added that no decisions had been reached yet on any small-scale projects.

The council’s development and investment chief, Labour councillor Danny Beales, said: “With 6,000 families on the waiting list and eye-watering private sector rents, residents tell us that they want the council to build as many genuinely affordable homes as we can, as quickly as we can. Through our New Homes for Small Sites programme we will be doing exactly that.

“There are many small, poorly used sites on our land – whether it is unused hardstanding or poorly used sheds and garages. An initial review suggested sites like this could unlock the potential for over 500 new homes to be built. Now the council is asking residents to have their say on where homes could be built.

He added: “At a time when only 6 per cent of Camden’s funding for building and refurbishing homes comes from central ­government, we must continue to look for ­innovative ways to deliver new council homes. We plan to support community land trusts and self-builds as well as building ourselves – and on the sites built by the council we will deliver 100 per cent affordable housing and wider estate improvements.:

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