CZWG partner Piers Gough has dismissed CABE as ‘out to lunch’ following criticism of his Queensland Road scheme
The £160 million project, due to come before Islington’s planning committee in the new year, is ‘the last piece of the puzzle’ in CZWG’s mostly completed regeneration scheme around Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, north London.
CZWG scaled down the residential scheme, which comprises five towers of between 10 and 15 storeys, after initial criticism from CABE back in September 2001.
The watchdog's latest report criticises ‘the quantum and height of the scheme’, saying that it ‘appears exaggerated and driven by commercial interests rather than townscape decisions'.
In response, Gough said: ‘CABE approved the outline scheme which this proposal effectively imitates. Granted this was a long time ago  and all the people have changed but they are denying their own advice’.
Another criticism thrown at the scheme was the ‘quality of Queensland Road as a residential street’ due to high traffic volume.
On this, Gough said: ‘CABE’s comments are outrageous. Benwell Road [the residential street adjacent to the scheme] has 10 times the traffic of Queensland Road and that is on a match day. Normally it will have 13 to 14 times the traffic. Queensland Road will be one of the quietest residential streets in London.’
‘I’m sorry to have to dismiss CABE’s comments, especially as I am a commissioner, but they are not always right,’ continued Gough.
‘I don’t think their comments will have much sway with the planners as the evidence is to the contrary.'
According to Gough, the main issue of contention is coach-parking provision. If planning permission is granted in January, enabling works are scheduled to begin in mid 2009. The planning committe was scheduled to meet last night (15 November) but the meeting was postponed.
The re-working of the commercial aspect of the scheme was praised by CABE and has involved the replacement of a large leisure centre and cinema with a community sports centre. A public walkway, which will link the houses with the commercial podium and Drayton Park station, has also been added to address CABE’s concerns about lack of connectivity.