Cherished Camden Car Park under threat from 1850 New Homes

Cherished Camden Car Park under threat from 1850 New Homes

The future fate of a shopping centre and associated car park hangs in the balance with plans for 1850 new homes and 2 hectares of green public space, on the current site of the 02 shopping centre near Finchley Road to Camden Council set to be submitted imminently.

A part detailed and part outline masterplan proposes submitted by office-led developer Land Securities with lead architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), which envisages a delivery timeline of nearly 15 years over three separate phases.

The first phase proposes 650 new homes for sale and rent on a segment of the car nearest to the shopping centre completed in the 1990s, with the demolition of the shopping centre and improvements to the for cyclists and pedestrians towards Finchley Road to be delivered in phase 2 which will be subject to another detailed planning application in the mid-2020s.

The site is situated between two tube stations and three national rail stations, with a car-free development proposed and a notable step change in more visibly legible walking and cycling routes.

The 02 Shopping Centre and frontages onto Blackburn and Finchley Road. Image credit Google Maps.

The forthcoming and bitterly contested plans by South Hampstead Conservatives, have become the centerpiece of campaigning by the local conservative party with elections for Camden Council set to take place on the 5th May. Concerns include the height and density of the proposed scheme alongside overshadowing and right to light concerns of Camden’s 2,000 flats at the 02 Centre.

Proponents of the scheme argue that this scheme by office lead developers LandSec which proposes 1850 homes entirely for rent across the open market and discount market housing, will contribute significantly towards the additional 1,270 new household formations in the borough each year.

The London Plan sets a minimum target for Camden of 889 additional homes per annum based on capacity, over 200 homes short of Camden’s full objectively assessed need, this is contrasted with Camden’s 1,120 additional homes needed per year.

PTAL scoring for the contested site, a measure which rates locations by distance from frequent public transport services. Image credit Transport for London.

Issues regarding affordability issues are exacerbated by Camden’s 19x average income to house price ratio which prices out the overwhelming majority of its residents out of homeownership, this has resulted in Camden being one of the few boroughs to not consider shared ownership as an affordable housing product.

Of the 1850 new homes proposes 650 of these are earmarked as affordable with 60% for low-cost rent (390 homes), with the remaining 260 homes for intermediate affordable rent making up the remaining 40%.

Finally whilst the surrounding areas are known for their leafy and green period housing stock, the green open space of the surrounding areas are private gardens. The seeks to provide at least 50% of the site as open space, which includes four new public squares including a linear park running the entirely east-west access of the site, with the site benefiting a high degree of accessibility to public transportation.