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Arup enters Camden Tube conflict

Local campaigners fighting Jestico + Whiles' proposals for Camden Town Tube station have unveiled competing designs by Arup for the site.

The opposition - made up of the famous Electric Ballroom and the owners of Camden Market - claims the new design (above left) renders unnecessary the compulsory purchase of their neighbouring land.

The coalition is determined to prove that the scheme produced for London Underground (LUL), to fund the refurbishment of the station through a commercial office development above ground (above right), are unnecessary.

They will present Arup's alternative proposals at a public inquiry starting next month.

But Jestico + Whiles has dismissed the new project as an 'ad-hoc half-measure that would not fulfil the requirements of the site'.

Arup claims its designs could be built for 60 per cent of the cost of LUL's plans, and insists that this proves the commercial development - budgeted to cover 20 per cent of the cost of the LUL scheme - is pointless.

'We don't have a personal issue with the Jestico + Whiles scheme, but we were asked to look at it from a different way, ' project leader Leszek Dobrovolsky said. 'We believe this project is more appropriate.

'These designs will be used at the public inquiry to show that the market and the Electric Ballroom can be saved, ' he added.

Both the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat candidates for mayor have lined up behind the Arup scheme.

Tory Steve Norris said he was delighted at the substitute scheme: 'It is really encouraging to see an alternative to London Underground's proposals for Camden Town Tube station. Redevelopment and improvements are necessary for Camden and now the government has an alternative option to updating the station without risk to the market, Electric Ballroom and surrounding area.'

However, Jestico + Whiles' project architect Andy Costa defended the need for compulsory purchase orders. 'The Arup scheme will not work from the perspective of LUL, ' he said. 'If you are asked to come up with a scheme without a proper brief then obviously you can come up with anything. But in the end it will be down to the inquiry to show that the commercial development is absolutely necessary.'

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