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Never the Swain

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Meanwhile, in just-asleafy Highgate, our old friend Waldemar Januszczak, the hapless presenter of last year's Stirling Prize television programme on Channel 4, has been getting hot under the collar about his local architecture. It seems his local manor, Swain's Lane, is to get a (shock, horror) three-storey apartment block where some single-storey shops currently stand.The designs are, apparently, 'appalling', 'halfbaked, mediocre, out of scale mess', 'absolutely disgusting', 'an awful pastiche of late 1980s cocktail bar mass development, very shoddy, phoney and with no architectural integrity'. Phew. He says the developer, the Earl of Listowel, 'hasn't listened' and 'there has been no architectural improvement or real change of scale'. Furthermore, he tells the Camden New Journal , it will also 'completely destroy one of the most charming vistas on the edge of the (Hampstead) Heath'. Other chattering class luvvies are also supportive - novelist Julian Barnes, newsman Jon Snow and actor Robert Powell have also joined the fray, adding weight to more than 300 objections from local residents. But Januszczak is on shaky territory with his final blast. The developers are 'dishonest' because they put in their planning application in August last year - when objectors were 'away'. In Tuscany, presumably.

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