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Council lashes out as estate upgrade sparks controversy

Camden council has attacked the Twentieth Century Society for attempting to block urgent renovation to one of its post-war housing estates without properly inspecting the site.

The upgrade to the Chalcots Estate (pictured) in Swiss Cottage, north London, includes re-cladding four tower blocks in aluminium, replacing metal-frame windows with UPVC and extensive landscaping.

The Twentieth Century Society has branded the renovation 'crude and bastardising', and has urged the council to award the estate conservation area status. But Camden has dismissed the criticism as unfounded and accused the pressure group of 'basing its case on photographs rather than visiting the estate'.

'The society has admitted it does not even know where the estate is, ' said Camden council planning officer Deidre Traynor. 'The criteria for conservation of post-war public housing are very tight.

Estates considered to be of greatest architectural interest have already been declared conservation areas by Camden.'

However, David Davidson, casework committee member for the Twentieth Century Society, fiercely rejected suggestions that it had failed to conduct research into the estate.

'The estate can be seen from a distance and we have members who live in Camden and know it, and I believe caseworker Cordula Zeidler has since visited the estate, ' he said. 'Nevertheless, the council's decision to finance this atrocious renovation shows its lack of understanding and appreciation of post-war architecture.'

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