WHPARA

Updates

A public consultation on the conversion of the tower took place on Wednesday 27th November at Archway Tower. See News & Reviews. A further consultation event is to take place on Monday February 3rd, 4-7pm, but this time access will be ground floor only.

1/12/14

Islington Council, who were leading the legal challenge to the General Permitted Development Order – the relaxation of planning laws that allows office space to be changed to residential without council approval – has lost the case. Read more in the Gazette.

1/12/14

Council Concerns
Islington Council has expressed concern that the new flats may be unaffordable and below basic space standards. They are preparing, along with several other London Boroughs, to mount a legal challenge to new legislation that permits developers to change offices to dwellings without the approval of residents and local authorities. There have already been 27 prior approval cases in Islington since the law changed in May 2013, resulting in the loss of almost 17,000 square metres of office floorspace, an area in which some 1,400 people could work. In some cases, says the Council, small businesses and charities have been evicted.

Councillor James Murray, Islington’s executive member for housing, claims “Developers have already begun to exploit this, with the iconic Archway Tower on the verge of having a large number of small, substandard bedsits squashed into it, with no affordable housing at all. We are determined to fight this and I am glad that we have the support of many other boroughs in bringing this important legal challenge.” There is an article on the subject on the BBC website.

1/12/14

Background

The tower has been bought by Essential Living, a new company using international funding to provided rented accommodation. New legislation permits office space to be converted to residential without planning permission, and Essential Living intend to convert the tower into studio and one-bedroom flats aimed at 25-35 year-olds. Additional facilities like business space, an area for parties, a gym and a laundry would probably require planning permission. This provides an opportunity to tackle the wind blight caused by the tower and we hope that Islington will make it a priority. Essential Living says it plans to start work next spring. Have a look at their page about the regeneration of “London’s Ugliest Tower” (their words, not ours!) here and a comprehensive guide to what's planned and a consultation document here.