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Lambeth apologises for ‘damaging’ works to Kate Macintosh’s listed 60s block


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.

Illegal pipe arrays p1040538

Illegal pipe arrays p1040538 


Readers' comments (5)

  • Bodes well for the new Council housing prompted by yesterday’s announcement at the Tory Conference?! Perhaps Mr Klute as a conservation officer or technologist at AHMM would like to contribute?!

    Back to the 70s!

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  • How about the government taking over some of Lambeth Council's executive functions?
    The planning department is clearly not fit for purpose, and it would appear that other council officers have been throwing money at a refurbishment contract that - by their own admission - is 'a complex piece of work', but over which they seem to have less than effective design and construction control.

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  • Hi
    Way back (1970s) I brought an action in person against the GLC in the high court, requesting an injunction to stop them spending on the St Paul`s Playing Field Site on the basis that there was no planning permission and it was unlawful for them to build without it. The question was wether I had 'locus standi' to bring the action - a big question in administrative law at the time. One Jeffrey Jowell, who was professor of pubic law at London University, told me some cases to use, and the judge, sitting in chambers, ruled that YES I had locus standi as a ratepayer to request remedy for a case claiming that the council to which I paid rates was spending (my money) unlawfully. (.. but that he could not admit me as plaintiff while Patliament had given better 'locus standi' to the local borough, Hammersmith). ('The doctrine of alternative remedy'..?) In tis case, Ms Macintosh could sue Lambeth, if she pays council tax there, on basis that L spent the money unlawfully - require removal and making good perhaps. And there is no alternative agency with locus standi - ! - L itself is ruled out since it is the accused party !! If she does not live in Lambeth, any payer of council tax in L could do it. I tried to find an email for Ms M, not found yet; could you please advise her of this ? and / or give me a contact, or encourage another Lambeth 'rate'payer ?

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  • It would be good to see some intervention coming from the GLA. I have informed the Deputy Mayor for Housing James Murray, but he has not responded.

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  • John Kellett

    Surely Historic England and/or central government can reprimand the Council for acting illegally?

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