WHPARA

 
25/2/17
The work was delayed because the electric supply to the park shelter needed to be disconnected prior to its demolition. Islington now report that UK Power Network (UKPN) have given a disconnection date of 2nd March, and once this has been completed work will resume. LBI advise that due to the complexity of the work and the extent of the earthworks, the anticipated completion date will not be until the Summer. See the plans.
23/10/16
After some delay, the contract has now been signed and the improvement works on Archway Park should begin on October 31st 2016, with a planned construction period of 14 weeks. During the works the ball court and play area will be closed to the public. Before works begin appropriate posters and notices will be displayed at the park entrances. See the plans.
Email from Jenifer Baker to stakeholders, 4/2/16
“I apologise for the delay about the progress on Archway Park since my last email below. The assessment panel considered that none of the tender returns we received in December for appointing a landscape contractor were of a high enough quality to enable a contractor to be appointed. Most of the contractors failed on the tree protection question or did not have adequate landscape experience.

It is important that we ensure that the contractor we appoint has previous experience of working in a site like Archway Park that has a high density of trees and also they should have evidenced a high standard of work when delivering improvement works.

Therefore, we have been advised by the Procurement Team to provide the contractors with an evaluation feedback and we hope to re-issue the tender documents in March. We will keep you updated on our progress.”
From Jenifer Baker, LBI Projects & Development Officer, 30/9/15
“We are progressing well with the procurement process to appoint a landscape contractor to carry out the construction works for the improvement to Archway Park. We are also on schedule with the programme for completion of the works by summer 2016. We will keep everyone updated on the progress and let you know if we anticipate any changes. However, do not hesitate to contact me if you would like more information about the project”.

Background

Archway Park is earmarked for a £300,000 makeover. Download the consultation document here.

The campaign to save Islington’s longest slide, destined for the scrapyard when Archway Park gets its makeover, is gaining momentum. More details here, article in the Tribune or follow the campaign at #SaveTheSlide. Local Councillor and WHPARA member Greg Foxsmith has two sons (Adam and Daniel, aged 10 and 6), who are presenting a petition to Islington Council. They urge you to sign it!
 

Updates

Peabody Consultation

Peabody has chosen award-winning and Kentish Town-based architects Hawarth Tompkins to produce the development scheme for the old university campus, called the Holborn Union site. They are planning to redevelop as a residential-led mixed use development including social rent, shared ownership and outright sale.

Peabody is currently at an early stage of developing ideas and wants to hear what local people think about the site and how the development can contribute positively to the local area and is holding an introductory public consultation event for people to do that:
Friday 6th Feb 3.30pm to 7.30pm
Saturday 7th Feb 10am to 2pm
Education Centre, Whittington Hospital - at the north of the hospital site, on the right of the roadway which continues beyond the roundabout outside the A&E entrance.

Peabody has said it would be happy to consider incorporating a cinema to complement the Odeon on Holloway Road and the BFI (British Film Institute) is actively seeking a community to host a small cinema so this could be an option.

If this is something you would like to see, please mention it to Peabody, either at the event or email them at archway@peabody.org.uk. (Better Archway Forum)

4/2/15

Background

The University campus between Archway Road and Highgate Hill is currently being sold by UCL and Middlesex Universities. During the summer of 2013 Islington produced a Conservation Area statement to protect it, highlighting the benefits of returning the grounds to their original gardens, so buyers will now have to work with the original buildings rather than demolishing most of them, as was proposed by some potential purchasers.

26/4/14
Since then the Peabody won the contract to redevelop the Campus. As it is now a Conservation Area any development must maintain the Victorian buildings and new build must reflect its heritage value. They plan a £150 million investment that will provide 450 homes, 50% of which will have an affordable element, a mix of social rent and shared ownership and they are also open to other ideas such as co-housing. Peabody are keen to open the site up to encourage community use and are looking at options with Islington and local groups. One idea is to move Archway library onto the site.

It’s early days and they are not rushing as they want to get it right. They will be holding an architectural competition to get the best ideas from around 20 architects. They will be continuing to talk and listen to local people and the Council, culminating in more formal public consultation events over the next few months. We welcome this initiative and look forward to being a partner with Peabody to ensure a visually striking development of real benefit to all who live and work here.

See more of their work and philosophy at: www.peabody.org.uk/homes-in-development
 

Background

The application to convert Hamlyn House to a Premier Inn is going to the planning committee in November 2013. After objections to the previous scheme it has been amended, with improved new cladding and removal of the bridge connecting it to its neighbouring building, Hill House. A study commissioned by the owners, Lazari Investments, confirmed that this was a key contributor to wind blight in the area. The weeping birch at the front of the building will be cut down, but Premier Inn promise that several new trees will be planted in the area.
 

Updates

The unpopular plan to develop the former Thomas Brothers into a four-storey residential block with retail outlets on the ground floor (P2014/3815/FUL) was turned down by Islington Council on Tuesday, according to the Islington Gazette.

4/2/15

...Meanwhile, a new fact has come to light. The Land Registry reveals that the new owners paid £6m for the site, even knowing that they could only build four storeys high. Checking the ‘sold’ prices for new flats in the area, even ignoring any cost for demolition and rebuild, and selling at the top of the range, the owners seem set for a loss of as much as £3m. That is very puzzling. (from BAF)
There is a second application to demolish the Thomas Bros building and rebuild as low quality, private housing.
 
The application is contrary to a raft of Islington policies including on housing quality, preserving the historic environment, and standard of design. However, as there have been some changes compared to the previous version, the case officer says she is minded to recommend approval of the current scheme.
 
In fact, the alterations are not major - a solid wall overlooking neighbours rather than a balcony (currently they can see sky), a slight reduction to the roof on the new fourth storey, and some minor changes to designs for balconies. The flats are dual aspect, but still include bedrooms over the heavily polluted Holloway Road.

The shop below would still be smaller, and because the new scheme can’t be bothered to step up the building with the slope of the land, would still feature a corner with a squashed frontage, hardly likely to attract much interest from new businesses.
 
To add insult to injury, despite the 50% affordable housing policy, the applicants only want to pay a small fee to Islington towards affordable housing elsewhere.
 
An Alternative

There is an alternative application for the site, retaining the shop, and above that using the existing building for blind mixed tenure housing with disabled access and all bedrooms and air circulation at the rear of the property. This would be less damaging for neighbours, more attractive, more sustainable, and offer better quality accommodation. All of this is possible because this alternative scheme has been produced by a qualified and experienced architect. The demolition scheme has not.
 
Action

The alternative scheme is only just being submitted so your support would be very helpful, writing to planning@islington.gov.uk quoting planning reference P2014/3815/FUL.
 
It would also be useful to copy local councillors asking them to reject the demolition scheme and support the proposal to re-use the building. Their addresses are janet.burgess@islington.gov.uk, Kaya.ComerSchwartz@islington.gov.uk, Timothy.Nicholls@islington.gov.uk; david.poyser@blueyonder.co.uk; michelline.ngongo@islington.gov.uk and marian.spall@islington.gov.uk. (BAF)

Background

26/6/14 P2014/2101/FUL Comments Until 17/7/14

Demolition of existing buildings and redevelopment of the site to provide a four storey mixed use building comprising 345 m2 A1 retail floors pace at ground floor and no.9 (C3) residential units at first second and third floors (4x 1 beds, 4x 2 beds, 1x 3 bed), with associated amenity space and cycle storage.

Withdrawn 5/8/2014
 

Background

A slightly strange letter style leaflet has been delivered in the area, announcing that Tesco hopes to open a Tesco Express in the Budgens on Holloway Road.

The letter says that a ‘Tesco Express is a small local shop designed to serve the needs of the surrounding community.’ It also says the store will create ‘up to’ 20 jobs for local people (so presumably fewer than 20), without mentioning the jobs lost with the closure of the Budgens.

The Express is the ‘petrol station forecourt’ size of Tesco store, according to the supermarket’s own web site. According to Wikipedia they are neighbourhood convenience stores, averaging (2,200 sq ft ie a third less than the Archway Co-op), stocking mainly food with an emphasis on higher-margin products such as sweets, crisps, chocolate, biscuits, fizzy drinks and processed food (due to small store size, and the necessity to maximise revenue per square foot) alongside everyday essentials.

Wikipedia adds that: ‘In 2010, it emerged that Tesco were operating Express pricing; i.e., charging more in their Express branches than in their regular branches. A spokesperson said that this was “because of the difference in costs of running the smaller stores”. (BAF)
 

Updates

Although a designated community asset, the Whittington & Cat has now closed and there is an application to develop all around it, making it harder for it to re-open as a viable business.

The Lion pub on the corner of Holloway Road and Junction Road has also closed, with no notice, the Good Intent in Wedmore Street, and we hear that the Dartmouth Arms in Dartmouth Park (Camden borough) is also due to shut. Within Islington there is policy to protect pubs, but clearly not powerful enough when faced with developers.

5/2/14

Background

Thanks to community support, the Whittington & Cat pub on Highgate Hill has been designated a community asset, the first in Islington. This means that if the owner sells it the community has six months in which to raise the funds to buy it. An application to demolish all but the façade and build bedsits was made. Islington refused, the scheme went to appeal and has now been rejected by the planning inspector.