Planning controls: The Downton Abbey test

Downton Abbey

Not Downton Abbey

IT’S a tough old planning regime in Islington. You have to be ‘Downton Abbey’ to score any protection when developers rock up to the bench. Fears that the Union Chapel in Upper Street – who doesn’t like the Union Chapel? Saw Adele there, was amazing – will be overshadowed by a new housing development were pooh-poohed for that very reason.

IT’S NO DOWNTON ABBEY, Labour councillor Phil Kelly told a council meeting last week. If that’s the standard (and I think we are talking about Highclere Castle, the Hampshire pile where the startlingly popular ITV drama series is filmed), fans of a few more beautiful but undervalued buildings in Islington may start to worry about what future setting they will stand in.

Cllr Kelly on the Chapel: “Although we are extremely proud of the building it is in the centre of a busy city and it may not be possible to preserve all the existing views. Everything we do in Islington has to be a balance. This is a scheme to provide new affordable homes for people on low incomes. Union Chapel is not Downton Abbey, nor is it set in a magnificent park where you can look in awe at its architectural wonders.”

I agree with him on the need for new affordable homes across London… but not sure ‘it’s not as nice as Downton Abbey’ will ever be formally codified in planning controls.

%d bloggers like this: