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Planners give green light to dMFK’s stepped Kentish Town flats

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Councillors have approved plans by de Metz Forbes Knight Architects to build a stepped seven-storey residential block on the site of a car wash

Camden Council’s Planning Committee granted consent to the local practice’s plans to create 14 flats on the triangular plot at 369-377 Kentish Town Road.

The scheme was supported by the Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum but faced objections from other local groups and individuals over issues including its height.

Camden’s design review panel – made up of 26 independent professionals – found in January that the dMFK designs were of ‘very high quality’.

The practice made minor changes following the panel’s comments, and will be retained throughout the project to fulfil its vision.

Planning officers hailed the proposals as ‘a considered and creative design response’ to the site, adding that setting back the first to fourth floor along Kentish Town Road would reduce bulk and mass.

‘The proposed development is of high architectural quality, which would provide a significant improvement to the townscape over the existing car wash,’ added their report to councillors.

‘The development shows generosity to the public realm, including wider pavements and a relocated bus shelter, and would help to activate and enhance this part of the town centre.’

According to dMFK, the scheme represents ‘a considered and creative response to the site’s varied and disparate urban context, while contributing an exemplary, standalone piece of contemporary architecture that marks the distinct corner site with a defined and slender endpoint’.

The practice said its design related to the heights and styles of an eclectic range of neighbouring buildings, including the Bull and Gate Pub and the Assembly Rooms, both of which are Grade II-listed.

‘The building’s finessed brick and stone façade is designed to create depth and interest, reflecting the punched masonry elevations of Highgate Road and echoing the language of the many local brick buildings,’ said dMFK.

‘It does this through a combination of detailed brickwork, projecting brick panels, pigmented concrete framing, marked floor edges and selected window surrounds. Above the fourth floor, the architecture breaks away with a set-back, framed building prow that combines and celebrates the multiple design elements of the building as a whole.’

As well as facing onto the proposed Kentish Town Square, the residential building will connect to a proposed pedestrian route called The Heathline, which would link Kentish Town and Hampstead Heath.

Mobile phone giants Vodafone, Telefonica UK and Cornerstone – who operate a shared radio base station from the rooftop of a neighbouring property – objected to the residential scheme on the grounds that it would block 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G signal from the masts.

However, planning officers noted that a retrospective application to maintain these antennas in their current location had been refused and an enforcement notice served to remove them. 

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