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C20 and residents slam Trellick refurbishment plans

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The Twentieth Century Society (C20) has hit out at John McAslan + Partners' proposals to refurbish Ernö Goldfinger's Grade II*-listed Trellick Tower on London's Golborne Road.

The conservation group, along with the tower's residents - some of whom, as leaseholders, may have to foot the bill for any work done - have questioned a proposal by the architect to replace all 800 of the building's windows. Both groups have drawn attention to a report by abseiling company Martech in 2003 that claimed only 8 per cent of the windows need replacing.

'The original windows are elegant, early double-glazed timber-framed windows that make an important contribution to the aesthetics of the listed building, ' said C20's caseworker Cordula Zeidler in a letter to the architect late last week.

Project architect Kevin Murphy has responded by emphasising the difficulties in surveying such a huge building. 'It's a 30-storey tower, ' he told the AJ. 'A lot of the inspection work is very problematic. The abseilers were used to get a very general feel for the amount of work needed to be done. We would suggest that 8 per cent is a very conservative estimate for the quantity of windows that need replacing.

'No one wanted to automatically go down this road, but with a building like Trellick Tower you can't replace them from the inside, you need to scaffold. And that's expensive. You don't want to be doing it a number of times, ' he added.

An application for listed building consent and a planning application for works was submitted to the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in January. As well as replacing the windows, the architect proposes to reinstate the tower's distinctive cornice beam. It also plans to repair and clean the building's concrete and to renew the roof coverings and balcony floor finishes, and hopes to reinstate Trellick's original-style signage.

A spokesman for the council's tenant management organisation said that it was currently consulting leaseholders in the tower with regard to the proposed works. The survey's findings will be known in two weeks.

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