The skyscraper planned for Avenue Road
Published: 9 May, 2014
By DAN CARRIER
CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to demolish a block of offices in Swiss Cottage and replace it with a 24-storey skyscraper have been dealt a blow after it emerged that Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Design Council are backing the project.
Developer Essential Living wants to demolish a 1980s building in Avenue Road – currently home to the Ham and High newspaper – and replace it with housing, offices and a new space for community group The Winch.
But objectors say the new building would be too high and the current block could simply be refurbished.
The New Journal has seen a report issued by the Mayor of London – who can call in large planning applications and overrule Town Hall decisions. This dismisses many of the grounds that objectors have. It states that, while the plans “exceed the range” for density in the London Plan, they can be passed as there is a greater need today for tall buildings in “town centres”. The report adds that the site is an “excellent location to site a tall building”.
The scheme has also been backed by the Design Council.
In a confidential letter sent to architects, it says: “The elevations of the tower buildings are well-ordered and work well.”
Essential Living spokesman Martin Hughes called the reports a “powerful endorsement”.
But Sarah Gottleib, of the Save Swiss Cottage group, said: “If Camden Council reject it, Boris Johnson will step in. This rides roughshod over local democracy. Does he know what is being done in the Mayor of London’s name? We do not want ‘Boris Blocks’ in Swiss Cottage.”