Consultation on proposals for Chester Road temporary accommodation

To give everyone involved the same opportunity to meet the design team and discuss the proposals, we are holding a second drop-in exhibition event for local residents:

On Weds 19 June, between 3.30pm and 7pm at St Marys Brookfield church.

Why are we here?

• Our aim is to ensure that everyone has a roof over their head or is on a pathway to achieving this, minimising homelessness and rough sleeping.

• We propose to develop the Council’s portfolio of temporary hostel accommodation so that it better meets the needs of homeless households and supports the longer-term objectives of finding them settled, sustainable housing.

• We will develop new hostels to provide improved accommodation for residents and help us to deliver a sustainable service.

• Instead of paying high rental charges to the private sector to house homeless households, the Council will re-develop some of its own temporary accommodation buildings for homeless families. Bringing the temporary hostel accommodation in-house will enable the council to provide better quality accommodation for those who have a short term housing need and save the council a significant sum in rental charges.

• We will engage with residents affected by this change who live and work close to the Chester Road Hostel as the proposals are further developed, and would like to listen to their views on the Council’s proposal to demolish the existing hostel and replace it with a new one for families.

For further information contact:

Louise Trewavas  LLB CIM
Project and Stakeholder Engagement Officer
CIP and Major Projects
Supporting Communities
London Borough of Camden


3rd floor
5 Pancras Square
London N1C 4AG

9 thoughts on “Consultation on proposals for Chester Road temporary accommodation

  1. J C Brown

    I am a local resident (I live directly opposite the Hostel) and strongly support the idea of providing temporary accommodation to homeless families within LB Camden, but believe the current proposals require modification. I make the following comments:

    The proposed building is much larger and higher than any of the buildings on the same side of Chester Road – it would completely dwarf the beige brick terraced buildings there.

    It is not correct to say that there are neighbouring buildings with 4 storeys above ground level on either Chester Road or Dartmouth Park Hill – those buildings only have 3 storeys from ground level – if there is a 4th storey, it is at basement level, below ground. The consultation document is wrong/misleading in this respect. The proposed 5 storey building is therefore much higher than any of the surrounding buildings and out of proportion compared to them. The buildings directly opposite, on Dartmouth Park Hill are only 2 storeys high and all the surrounding buildings have only 3 storeys if basements (below ground) are excluded.

    It would not be appropriate to use red brick for the proposed building. It would accentuate the disproportionate building size and would be out of character with all the buildings on the same side of Chester Road (including the new Balmore development which has used beige brick). The building is in an LB Camden conservation area and beside an LB Islington conservation area, the predominant characteristic of which is 1850-1890 yellow London stock brick faced Victorian gothic terracing. The building should compliment the predominant building type in the conservation areas, not the somewhat anomalous and unattractive small area of Edwardian red brick housing at the top of Chester Road. Indeed, the building should positively contribute to the Conservation area.

    The proposed building would seriously overshadow Colva Walk. The walkway there would become dark and liable to attract antisocial behaviour. The walkway is used by small children going to Brookfield Primary school and already has significant fly-tipping problems. Making the walkway darker would contribute to those.
    The building would exclude daylight in the morning to the adjoining Chester Road buildings and, in the evening, to the Islington side of Dartmouth Park. It would exclude the views from the Islington side of Dartmouth Park Hill to Highgate.

    The site as proposed will be overdeveloped. The redevelopment of the Balmore estate – a larger area – had 53 dwellings – this proposes 65.
    It is inevitable that there will be a significant increase in pressure on schools, medical facilities and parking. The LB Camden schools in the area are already heavily oversubscribed.

    There will be a significant concentration of families requiring additional support in an area which already has a high concentration of social housing. This needs to be carefully managed, which will not be done by squeezing the highest number of homeless families possible into this site.

    The statement that the development will be “car free” is disingenuous – the site residents are not going to be prevented from applying for parking permits. Chester Road is already heavily parked and there is no capacity for further vehicles. There is little/no parking available on Dartmouth Park Hill.

    The proposals should be reduced in height, to a maximum of 3 stories above ground. Other local residents are required to comply with height/storey restrictions when altering their premises – it would be extremely unfair if LB Camden was subject to different rules. For example, the residents of the 2 storey yellow brick Victorian buildings opposite, on Dartmouth Park Hill, have been prevented from adding additional storeys to their Dartmouth Park Hill elevations by LB Islington planning department.

    Contrary to Camden Council planning policy, current proposals detract from the conservation area by overshadowing and dominating all the surrounding housing.

  2. Angela Sinclair

    This proposed redevelopment is just too big and out of scale with surrounding residential properties, in particular those on Dartmouth Park Hill which are low level and would suffer significant deprivation of sunshine, light and natural warmth. More attention needs to be given to the integrity of the conservation area.

    Homeless families should be welcomed into accommodation that is in keeping with its surroundings, rather than a development that signals difference in terms of its size and density.

    It would appear that research on the social and amenity impact of the proposed development is scant and needs to be investigated further to arrive at as near as possible a zero impact solution.

  3. Virginia and John Cumming

    Six storeys is far too high in this low-rise area. It will change entire character of the surrounding streets by blocking sun and views, and tower over everything.

    It will be fully visible along whole length of Bickerton Rd, yet we have not been asked for our views. We had no idea this consultation was going on.

    We fully support the objections given by Dartmouth Park residents. In particular we agree that putting in a tower block without extra space and services would be a detrimental experience for the users. The current hostel is brilliantly designed – why not just extend a refurbish it?

  4. Richard Ault

    I live at the top end of Bickerton Road N195js and have a number of points
    -,Consultation on this project has been poor, despite walking past the existing hostel, I have not seen any posters alerting locals of this significant development
    – the 6 story scale is completely out of proportion and bulk to the area.
    – the top end of the neighboring Islington St John’s conservation zone is directly opposite the proposal and the proposal will dominate and diminish the zone
    – the existence low level building is an excellent example of sympathetic modernist architecture that may well attract a preservation order as it gives visual strength and diversity to the area
    – better to make fewer but permanent council properties for families than unsecured temporary units
    – money saving as a goal is unproven and not justified for such a dramatic negative impact to the hundreds of Camden and Islington residents in the area.

  5. I Minasi

    I live directly opposite and received notification of the proposed redevelopment just three days before the consultation period ended.

    This is unacceptable and must be in breach of several of your regulations let alone best practices. This failure to properly consult people who are living less than 40 metres from the building is deeply upsetting.

    The five storey elevation at the corner of the proposed building blocks my view and significantly reduces the value of my property. The Council will be at serious risk of a series of costly legal challenges from a number of people if it proceeds. These legal challenges will negate any financial benefit of the insourcing of this accommodation.

    Such a significant change in the balance of temporary vs. permanent residents in the immediate area will have a social cost. It would be irresponsible to proceed without a thorough impact assessment to understand the consequences of this decision for all existing and future residents.

    What social and economic impact assessments have already been conducted? Have any of these been published? These documents need to be made available to the community.

    The design of this large, imposing building looks more like a detention centre than a home for deprived members of the community.

    New designs for a smaller, less imposing and more sympathetic building are urgently required. Were local architects invited to bid for the project?

    It is very difficult to see how an imposing 65-flat institutional style building will do anything but seriously damage a local community which currently functions very well.

    What is the rationale for the location? What criteria have been used? What other locations have been considered?

  6. Elizabeth Goodburn

    Feedback on proposed rebuilding of Chester Road Hostel.
    I am supportive of the concept of rebuilding the hostel as it is clearly in a poor state of repair. I also support the principle of accommodating homeless Camden families within the Borough.
    I do have significant concerns however about the design of the proposed building, It looks as though it is going to be far too high and have far too many units. I am also very very concerned about the loss of the green space, sunlight, trees and plants between Chester Rd, Colva Walk and Dartmouth Park Hill, I am also concerned about the possible loss of the walk way between Chester Rd and Dartmouth Park Hill. I really cannot see why the proposed design is so large. If the proposed new building is similar in height and area as the current one then there should not be a problem.
    I am also extremely concerned that the exhibition was only put on for one day! I wasn’t able to see it and I am sure that many other local residents were also not available. This seemed to be an act of avoidance! Most such proposals are exhibited for 2 or 3 weeks in a public space such as the Library and residents are given plenty of advance notice. Please can the exhibition be re-instated and be available for residents to look at.

  7. Dominic.F

    What a fantastic example of poor and lazy modern architecture. The only thought that has gone into to this monstrosity is skewing the visual to make it appear as if its the same height as the surrounding buildings. Nobody has been fooled. Six storeys is obviously too high. Why not design something that improves the local vernacular? Just so poor from everyone involved.

  8. Derek.M

    I agree with all of the above. The lack of information is shocking. The designs are laughable. I’d like to ask the architects when they did their ‘research’ on the local area, which building set the precedent for a pink exterior? I understand the budget is an issue, the scope is limited – but even a tiny bit of imagination could create a better overall concept. Or better still, don’t do anything at all, as the building looks fine as it is.

  9. Tony Ewin

    Can anyone who worked on this project tell me how, if anything, this building will visually benefit the local area? Dartmouth Park is rich in beautiful architecture from different periods, why would we ruin it with a pink lump that looks like it has come out of a concrete mixer?

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