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Penrose turns down Camden housing listing

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A bid to list phase I of Benson and Forsyth’s 1970s Maiden Lane housing estate in Camden has been rejected

Following recommendations made by English Heritage back in 2005, new architecture minister John Penrose decided not to list the 225-home building (1981), designed by Gordon Benson and Alan Forsyth then of the London Borough of Camden’s Architects’ Department.

The decision paves the way for a Camden Council-backed overhaul of the iconic north London estate and new plans by architects PRP Architects who were appointed in May this year (2009) to oversee its redesign and refurbishment.

A Camden Council spokesperson, said: ‘The architectural significance of phase I is limited to some extent…. [and] the council does not consider phase II to have architectural interest.’

Phase II to the east of the original blocks was built to modifications of Benson and Forsyth’s scheme by Daniel Usiskin, John McCain and Quentin Champion in 1979-83, also working for Camden.

PRP director Brendan Kilpatric said:’In our opinion the architecture of Maiden Lane is generally of a very high quality and it is an iconic feature within the London Borough of Camden.

‘In terms of PRP’s proposals for the scheme, we would always look to respect the existing architecture and build on the original qualities of the estate anyway and so this decision will not have a big impact on our overall design.’

Meanwhile Penrose did agree to hand Grade II listings to the nearby Dunboyne Road and Branch Hill estates.

The Twentieth Century Society recommended all three Camden sites for Grade II listed status.

Society director Catherine Croft said: ‘The society agreed that the [Dunboyne and Branch Hill] were the more impressive, and less problematic in terms of phased work. Our view is that the other two estates are extremely good, and Phase I of Maiden Lane is a good grade two.’

Meanwhile the Darul Ummah Community Centre in Tower Hamlets was also granted listed status.

However a bid to list the former Horwich Locomotive works, Bolton was rejected, while Westbury Lane Bridge, near Reading is to have its listed status removed.

Penrose also upheld a controversial decision by former minister Margaret Hodge to delist Sandy Wilson’s 1958 apartment block at 24-26 Hereford Square in South Kensington, London .

Sandy Wilson's delisted Hereford Square

Sandy Wilson’s delisted Hereford Square

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