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Livingstone: Jestico + Whiles Camden tube 'unacceptable'

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London mayor Ken Livingstone has poured cold water on Jestico + Whiles' designs to redevelop the Camden Underground station in north London (AJ 21.12.00).

Camden council's planning committee is due to meet on 30 May to discuss the proposal, but Livingstone has made it clear that he will turn the scheme down should the committee back it.

In a letter to the council Livingstone did not pull any punches, calling the scheme 'unacceptable', 'harmful', 'inward looking' and 'misconceived'.

He wrote: 'This important strategic site deserves an imaginative quality design for any major redevelopment and this is currently lacking.Whilst high density development with mixed town centre and transport related uses is acceptable, the design of buildings at this high profile site should be elegant, of the highest quality and respect the surrounding built environment.'

The mayor has also called for an increase in affordable housing in the development to 50 per cent. He also objects to the tower which tops the new station and says that transport interchange facilities between tube, buses, taxis and pedestrians are lacking.

Caroline Rathbone, consultation manager for London Underground, said both tube managers and the architectural practice were disappointed by the comments. 'But this doesn't change the fact that Camden needs a new tube station, ' she told the AJ. 'We're keen to work with the mayor's office to make sure we do come up with a scheme which is supported by all the relevant authorities.'

Jestico + Whiles was reluctant to talk about the setback as the AJ went to press.

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