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Teflon plans at north London station might come unstuck

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The redesign of one of London's busiest and grimiest transport interchanges is stirring up controversy among local architects and residents.

Tony Meadows Associates' plan for north London's Finsbury Park Station, to include a giant see-through Teflon canopy, is aimed at easing congestion at the bus, tube and overground interchange. The design was awarded detailed planning consent last month.

The centrepiece is to feature a street-long canopy made of Teflon, as used on the Eden Project, and two oval 'pods' accommodating shops, the station manager's office and lavatories. The £5.1 million project will add new fronts to existing shops and a new entrance to the adjacent park.

But Angela Brady, a partner at Brady + Mallalieu Architects and acting chair of the Finsbury Park Community Forum, said: 'We are not happy with the proposal and the lack of consultation.

The amount of buses parked could increase by a third. The scheme could be better.'

And architect Rab Bennetts, an advisor to the Islington planning committee, said the design was 'fantastically bold' but overcomplicated with works of art and free-standing elements on the street. 'Stations are difficult and I would be inclined to make it a little calmer, ' Bennetts said.

He was also disappointed that so little debate was dedicated to the design during planning meetings. 'Planners can spend an awfully long time discussing whether to take enforcement action on a neighbour's extension that is too large and just a few minutes on big schemes, ' he said.

'Many lay people don't know where to begin with big schemes.'

Bennetts suggested that the project was so badly needed that the council was eager to see it through planning with minimum fuss.

However, the project architect, associate Joanne Lindenbaum, said: 'We have been consulting since we started in March.We've had travelling exhibitions, talked to local groups and put on displays.'

Although there had been concerns about the Teflon fabric and tree pruning, the council had 'very much backed the scheme', she said.

The project is part of a £25 million clean-up and employment operation with funding from the Single Regeneration Budget. Match funding for the station is being sought from Transport for London and the Strategic Railway Authority.

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