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Rick Mather unveils controversial Camden plans

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[FIRST LOOK] Rick Mather Architects has submitted plans for this mixed-use development in the Dartmouth Park Conservation Area, Camden, north London

The contentious scheme next to Hampstead Heath features a trio of four to five storey buildings containing 57 residential and commercial units.

According to Fabian Watkinson, the former chair of the Whittington Estate Residents’ Association, the project will replace a ‘much loved’ but neglected affordable housing scheme built by Civic Trust Award-winning architect Bill Forrest in 1978.

He claims a ‘lack of government funding to refurbish the buildings’ meant the housing ‘had not seen a lick of paint since it was built’ and subsequently led Camden council to develop a ‘financially-led scheme.’

Despite a petition of 1000 signatures to oppose the demolition of the internally ‘stunning’ social housing Camden Council is pressing ahead with plans to replace the blocks on Chester Road/Balmore Street.

In response the Stirling shortlisted-practice claims it has drawn up a ‘sensitive response’ to its surroundings which includes several seminal 1960s and 70s social housing schemes by Camden Borough architects, Sydney Cook, Neave Brown and Hungarian Peter Tabori.

Similarly to these ‘low rise, high density’ housing schemes, the proposal will exploit the sloped nature of its site through a ‘series of stepped terraces’ which, ‘maximise the use of roof areas.’

According to the practice, which was selected from a shortlist of 12 firms, the development aims to ‘provide the maximum possible flexibility to meet residents’ aspirations and different ways of living’.

Providing almost 50:50 affordable and private housing, the scheme increases the amount of social housing currently on site by 40 per cent. The sales of the private housing will fund the affordable section of the scheme.

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