IT’S hard to find anybody living in Swiss Cottage and Belsize Park who thinks what their corner of Camden needs now is a 24-storey skyscraper. So even Conservatives who had campaigned vociferously against it were left lamenting their own secretary of state when Greg Clark’s approval of the plans were published on Friday. Camden Council had originally refused the application.
In giving the go-ahead, Clark crossed the view of Conservative mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, who had gone as far as writing to the planning inspector to tell him how “hideous” the whole thing will be.
“There is a tremendous shortage of homes in London, with demand greatly exceeding supply,” Zac wrote. “But if we are to have any hope of gaining the consent of Londoners to develop the homes we need, it is imperative that the planning system works with rather than against people and communities. This proposal is for a building that is oversized, completely out of keeping, and visually hideous. It would be astonishing if the community hadn’t reacted in the way that it has.”