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Balmond set to lose 'Nimby' planning battle

World-famous engineer Cecil Balmond looks to have been thwarted in his attempts to stop a small residential development next to his Victorian home in Crouch End, north London.

Last year the Arup deputy chairman - the brains behind some of the most ambitious structures of the last decade - was branded a 'Nimby' after objecting to a two-home development on a neighbouring plot in Coolhurst Road by SLLB Architects (AJ 29.06.06).

Among Balmond's main concerns were the 'loss of pretty green space', 'the overdevelopment of the site and of Crouch End in general', the potential 'destabilising of [the] area' and possible 'subsidence' to his own home.

However, it seems the development, which has been tweaked and resubmitted since Balmond lodged his written objections, has won the backing of Haringey Council's planners and is expected to be given the thumbs up next month.

Balmond, who has worked on every one of the innovative Serpentine Pavilion projects since 2000, claimed the objections were actually penned by his wife on his own headed paper.

Meanwhile London-based practice SLLB is adamant that the proposed development - the latest in a long line of failed applications for the site by a raft of different architects - will not adversely affect the surrounding area.

In a letter to the council, the practice states: 'Our proposal carefully considers the privacy and views enjoyed by the neighbouring residents and is designed to minimise any impact on the surroundings.'

by Richard Waite

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