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Government approves contentious Grid tower

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Communities secretary Greg Clarke has given the go ahead for a Grid Architects’ tower in Swiss Cottage - a building described as ‘monstrous’ by a former English Heritage director

The 24-storey scheme, for 184 homes plus commercial and community uses was refused by London Borough of Camden in 2014, against the recommendation of officers (AJ 15.09.14).

At the time, heritage consultant Philip Davies, said the scheme for developer Essential Living was a ‘monstrous proposal, which is grotesquely out of scale with its surroundings’.

However, the minister, who called in the decision, agreed with a planning inspector who recommended that an appeal, by developer Essential Living, should be allowed.

His decision letter said that he ‘considers that the public benefits of the proposal outweigh the less than substantial harm, in Framework terms, to the Belsize Conservation Area’.

He said that the scheme would provide social benefit through new housing, community space, improvements to Swiss Cottage underground station, and was ’an attractive design and will fit in with the area’.

In addition, the development would not harm, and in one case actually enhance, the setting of listed buildings nearby, he said.

Scott Hammond, managing director at Essential Living, said: ‘This is the right decision for the revitalisation of Swiss Cottage and we will now commence the work to deliver our proposals which we will be calling Theatre Square.’

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