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Kilburn: Tower block option dropped

PUBLISHED: 15:08 23 September 2010 | UPDATED: 18:04 23 September 2010

Victory: Carin Battle, Fiona Cubbin and her son Oliver say they are ecstatic the council has dropped plans to build a 24 storey tower block

Victory: Carin Battle, Fiona Cubbin and her son Oliver say they are ecstatic the council has dropped plans to build a 24 storey tower block

Jan Nevill

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build a 24-storey tower block lie in ruins after residents launched a successful campaign against them.

Under one of the options to overhaul the Abbey road area, in Kilburn, Camden town hall chiefs proposed to build a large tower block, which they claimed would help ease the chronic shortage of housing in the borough.

There are 18,000 people on the social housing waiting list.

But the council has now abandoned the proposal after it was met with a wall of opposition from residents who claimed the high density housing would have placed an unbearable strain on schools and public services.

Council chiefs now insist that new developments on the site, which runs from Loudoun Road in the east through to Belsize Road car park in the west, will be capped at ten storeys.

Fiona Cubbin, a mother of two who co-founded the Against the Overdevelopment of Abbey campaign group, said: “We are really pleased the council decided not to go ahead with the 24-storey block. It feels like a major victory for residents.”

But she warned that residents are still fighting for council guarantees that extra school places and community facilities would be found before the builders are called in.

She said: “Camden Council hasn’t spoken to the local schools and asked whether there is capacity for these extra families.

“We are really worried that services like school places could be over burdened.

“The proposed development has expanded into an enormous scheme because they realised there was opportunity to make money by building private properties.

“But there is a human story in all this, and we are worried that our tight knit community could be broken up.”

Carin Battles, a fellow member of the Against Overdeveloping Abbey campaign group, whose house neighbours the estate, said: “I am very concerned about the loss of green space and there is a limit to how much housing density the area can bear.”

At a public meeting in June, reported by the Times, residents passed an official vote of no confidence in the council’s regeneration plans in Abbey, over fears that tenants will be uprooted from their homes.

The council’s plans include new private and social housing and retail space. The land between Snowman House and Casterbridge will be infilled, and Emminster and Hinstock blocks could be demolished, and the Abbey car park will be turned into flats.

A council spokeswoman confirmed the 24-storey block had been dropped and said: “The one tower option was part of an initial consultation with the community. It was not well supported.

“The views of local people are key to the decision making process.”

Property consultants GVA Grimley have been called in to design the plans and consultation is ongoing.

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