Architect Kate Macintosh has said she is devastated after Lambeth Council carried out ‘damaging’ works to her Grade-II-listed sheltered housing scheme in Streatham without planning consent
The respected architect said the local authority’s alterations to Macintosh Court – which was listed in 2015 following a residents’ campaign – have caused havoc for residents and ‘mutilated’ the Modernist blocks.
In January, the council embarked on a £2.5 million refurbishment programme at the estate, securing listed building consent for works including replacing the windows and doors.
But it has now apologised after admitting the permission did not cover fitting pipework to the building’s exterior. Macintosh described the work as a ‘quasi-industrial installation’.
Macintosh said she reported the breach to Lambeth’s planning department numerous times but no action was taken. Elderly residents have also complained about a number of issues related to the ‘botched’ works including leaks, potential asbestos exposure and weeks of upheaval.
Macintosh said: ‘I’m heartbroken and devastated. Everything external is illegal, but the only agency that can take enforcement action is Lambeth’s own planning department. This is the abuse and mutilation of a listed building. How can they have any credibility in taking care of listed buildings when they treat their own building with such disregard?’
Lambeth Council said the refurbishment of the 45-year old block was a ‘complex piece of work’
A spokesperson said: ‘We agree the pipework installations that have occurred go beyond those approved at the listed building consent and we apologise for that.
‘We consider these do affect the special interest of the listed building. We have inspected the works on site and discussed these with the contractor. They are currently considering options.’
The council added that all works to remove asbestos were undertaken in accordance with regulations and that no residents were put at risk.
Macintosh Court – renamed from 269 Leigham Court in honour of its architect – was saved from demolition after Historic England listed the building in 2015 following a campaign by residents.
The heritage body said the rare 1960s sheltered housing was a ‘particularly well-considered’ example of ‘cradle to grave’ care, standing out for both its practical success and its ‘sensitively designed quality of environment’.
Lambeth Council said a ‘productive meeting’ was held last week where a number of action points were agreed to resolve the issues.
’This included a clear commitment that any defects will be remedied before the council takes handover,’ it added.
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