Northview survives again as planning inspector rejects appeal
Inspector describes proposed storey as “visually incongruous and top heavy” and describes Northview as an “important undesignated heritage asset”.
Why Northview needs protection
Northview is a distinctive enclave of flats around a courtyard built in 1938 in Holloway, north London. It retains many original features of the 1930s, from its architectural design and layout that maximise natural light through to smaller deco touches that draw on Mayan and Egyptian influences.
Northview’s design acts physically to provide a natural community. While it sits between two main roads in the busy commercial area of Holloway, it still provides a restful oasis, with green areas and mature trees, decades after it was built.
We know of no similar 1930s estate in Islington, nor in London. Having consulted current and historical records, we understand it is the sole survivor of this type of community housing scheme in the borough, possibly London.
Despite its obvious value, Northview is still threatened with redevelopment. Local listing could help preserve a unique 1930s heritage asset.
A survivor so far
In the past couple of years, several efforts to that would have wrecked Northview’s community feel and its integrity as an almost-intact 1930s enclave have been seen off. The first, in 2009, was withdrawn (see newspaper cutting below). The second was declared invalid. A third was sent back to the applicants for changes. The fourth was unanimously rejected by councillors on 29 September. A fifth was rejected by offices in February 2013; the applicants appealled to the government Planning Inspectorate, which dismissed it.
Northview also survived the bombs that hit its neighbours, a gas explosion, the collapse of a road above its underground river and ill thought out building proposals when it was just 10 years old. To see Northview's story, go to archive pages It started with a Nissen hut … stop architectural vandalism and New threat to 1930s oasis. and Fifth threat to deco heritage.
While developments like Northview were typical of the 1930s, very few seem to remain.
It illustrates social history in an unusual way, as several features were designed to tackle common prejudice against living in flats in the 1930s – and to differentiate it from social housing. Original features – including deco banisters with a papyrus motif (left), Crittall windows and chrome pipework – still survive. Our logo uses the papyrus motifs from the balusters.
Unusually and possibly uniquely, its two blocks – a small block facing the road and a larger block to the rear – have contrasting yet complementary designs, with original features, such as the banisters, common to each. Their difference in height gives a feeling of openness, with views of greenery and open skies, when entering the estate.
Danger with an understated quality
Both English Heritage and SAVE Britain’s Heritage have highlighted the risks that face more modest, low-profile buildings, such as Northview. Both have sent us supportive messages.
As English Heritage says of housing of the time, it “can possess an understated quality that has often been overlooked”. While it is not a well-known or high-profile scheme, Northview is certainly of local architectural and historical interest.
Why Northview deserves protection
Put the 1930s corner in the conservation area
The government planning inspector said: “From the courtyard, the grade 2 listed art deco Odeon cinema is seen beyond
We believe the whole 1930s corner at the foot of Tufnell Park Road should be included in the conservation area that already contains the Odeon.