10 October Brilliant news – the government Planning Inspectorate dismisses the appeal.
Planning inspector Siobhan Watson MCD MRTPI described the scheme as “a visually incongruous and top heavy addition”.
Northview's importance as a heritage asset was acknowledged.
She said two Northview buildings and the grade II listed Odeon cinema “provide architectural and historic interest to the character and appearance of the area. The appeal building is an important undesignated heritage asset within this group.”
She also said it would have “an unacceptably dominant presence over Holbrooke Court", the neighbouring council estate.
After carefully considering council, London Plan and national planning policy and law, she found: “I conclude that the proposed development would have a detrimental effect upon the character and appearance of the area and upon the building itself.”
Our appeal document requested that the inspectorate rejected the scheme, and provided detailed evidence and photographs. We are particularly grateful for James Dunnett’s contributions.
The picture below shows what was a proposed. See Fifth threat to deco heritage for more on the appalling piece of architectural vandalism that was proposed.
People against the schemes to redevelop Northview include: Lord Waheed Alli; Baroness Claire Tyler; international modern architecture expert James Dunnett RIBA; long-term Planning editor Huw Morris; Gavin Stamp, 20th Century Society trustee and Private Eye’s Piloti; the Islington Archaeology & History Society; our MP and councillors; local author and history writer Caitlin Davies; conservation experts; and local residents too numerous to mention. We are thankful to the Islington Tribune for its coverage.
Many thanks to everyone who offered advice and support, came to meetings, signed petitions and wrote letters to back our campaigns.
Comments on our Preserve Northview petition can be read at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/preserve-northview
16 September Council ecologist visits our common garden areas. He describes the large London Plane as “a lovely tree, with a well developed canopy”. He says that an increase in height of the buildings could have a negative impact on the diversity of the flora, and that the garden was likely to be used by birds and mammals including bats, which could be affected by additional light.
13 August Newly discovered map from 1920 shows that the Hackney Brook runs under the apex of Northview’s back block and under its southeastern arm. Go to Living over the Hackney Brook to see the map, and to see a pic of the pump that keeps the Odeon’s basement dry. There’s more water below the ground and it’s closer than we thought.
7 August Planning inspector visits. Visit attended by council officer and applicants.
4 August Baroness Claire Tyler of Enfield, who has visited Northview and lives nearby, writes: “These development plans are totally insensitive and inappropriate to this 1930s style art deco community which should be preserved in its current harmonious form both for current and future residents and as part of our architectural heritage.”
21 June Lord Waheed Alli writes to the Planning Inspectorate, warning against an “ugly” redevelopment that is “painfully at odds with the unique 1930s property”. He writes:
“I would like to add my voice to the residents of Northview,
local councillors and neighbours requesting that this appeal is
The letter is reported by the Islington Tribune: Theatre boss backs protest over bid to raise the roof at flats block.
The Tribune story also quotes James Dunnett RIBA, co-chair of Unesco modern architecture group Docomomo-UK, reiterates the opposition to the development by the Islington Archaeology & History Society
21 June Last day to write to the Planning Inspectorate. Please email TeamP7@pins.gsi.gov.uk and say how important it is that our unique deco enclave is protected from this crude, grey, metal overdevelopment. Thanks!
19 June More supporters sign our petition:
Huw Morris, who was editor of Planning magazine for
17 June More recent comments on our petition:
15 May Meeting of the Islington Archaeology & History Society votes unanimously to support residents in our campaign to stop the development.
14 May Notice of appeal received. Islington council has asked the Planning Inspectorate to hold a hearing.
21 April Sunday Times rich list puts the Walduck family, whose company owns Northview, at number 380=, with wealth of £205m; this is up from number 395= last year, with wealth of £190m. The paper says: “The Walduck family has been in the hotel trade since 1827. It owns Imperial London Hotels, which has six hotels around Bloomsbury. With £150.5m net assets, the company is worth £200m. Past dividends and salaries take the family to £205m.”
23 March Notice dated 21 March received by some leaseholders about a proposed development of seven flats at 14-43 Northview. The notice, from Brian Barber Associates and signed by James Holmes, says we have 21 days to comment on the application. However, no further information is included and no new application has been made to the council.
21 February Council officers refuse consent.
26 October Committee hearing set for 15 November removed from the agenda “pending further work” after ward partnership meeting.
22 October Head of planning says her department’s failure to answer residents’ emails is “disgraceful” at ward partnership meeting.
24 September Jeremy Corbyn MP tell the
planning department of “devasting” effects:
9 September James Dunnett RIBA is critical of
the scheme and questions its feasibility. He writes to the
We used many of James Dunnett's detailed comments, including on the feasibility of the scheme and on the studies used to support it, in our objection document.
August Application P121620 goes live. Northview Residents’ Association later submits objection document.
26 July Council says no application has been received since the rejected one last year, and that it carries out its own 21-day consultation
20 July Residents receive letter on behalf of the freeholder giving notice to build an extra strorey with seven flats on top of Northview, and giving us 21 days to raise any objections with the council. No application on council website.
January Application made to fell Northview's listed trees. Council rejects it. Council sent some pictures of unauthorised tree works.
3 October Northview
Preserv’d – Liberal Democrat ward website reports “delight”
at rejection of plans. Here's an excerpt:
29 September – SUCCESS! Councillors unanimously reject plans – against officers’ advice – to build an extra storey on Northview. So many people attend the meeting to support our campaign that some have to stand. Both the extra storey and the drawings come in for criticism. Residents Ben Porter and Sarah Lawrie speak against the proposals, as does Labour ward councillor Jessica Asato.
28 September Letter from safer neighbourhoods
23 September Jeremy Corbyn MP writes to
planning officer Ashley Niman. Here's an excerpt:
23 September It’s ugly. It’s overbearing. And it will ruin Northview estate takes up nearly all the news space (by far) on page 3 of the Islington Tribune.
And we have a letter published: Dump this montrosity
21 September Resident Ben Porter addresses Islington Archaeology & History Society at Islington town hall about Northview and the threat of development (pictured left).
21 September Gavin Stamp, 20th Century Society trustee and writer of Nooks and Corners column in Private Eye, signs our petition20 September Committee papers emailed over.
15 September James Dunnett, co-chair of DOCOMO-UK (pictured at the foot of this page with residents), writes to Islington council objecting to the latest proposals.
5 September Information added to Living in a flat, 1930s style.
1 September Find out at St George’s ward partnership meeting that council officers are recommending the the council approves the extra storey.
15 August No response received to letter of 2 August, so chasing letter sent.
2 August Wrote to council planning department, asking what officers would recommend, and when the application would go to committee.
28 July Letter in Camden New Journal: 20th century is at risk
resident Mary Wash writes:
11 July Good luck message from English Heritage:
“I really hope your bid for local listing goes well although
sadly there is often a conflict between planning demands and
conservation in most councils.
11 July Letter in Building Design:
scaled-down garden city design is sorely needed in inner city
areas. Fears have been raised in the media that some very high
density housing recently built could become the slums of tomorrow.
6 July The freeholders are refusing to let us take part in London Open House.
1 July Letter in Islington Tribune about
multiple planning documents – Fresh
threat to homes
22 June Consultation closes tomorrow. There have now been five sets of documents on Islington council’s website. If it had not been for our vigilance in checking the council website, we would have been commenting on inaccurate plans.
12 June Documents change again. We start our objection again.
7 June Major inconsistences with drawings in latest application.
5 June The latest application says that people will not lose direct sunilght with the new application. Our photograph (left) showing direct early evening sunlight on the back block shows this is wrong. With another storey, that shadow would extend much higher. Residents have said:
“We enjoy glorious sunshine in the late afternoons and evenings, which we would lose.”
“The amount of sunlight in our living room throughout the day was a key factor in our buying our home and provides us with much pleasure. We could lose least one and a half hours of sunlight a day.”
2 June Documents on website. We’ve spent so much time looking at planning applications over recently we can tell at first glance that the documents are incomplete. Council updates them.
25 May Our freeholders are having yet another stab at building on the back block. Including the times they've been sent back to change drawings, we make this their fourth attempt.
15 May Open City has invited Northview to take part in this year's London Open House event on 17-18 September.
26 April SAVE Britain's Heritage give us a “good luck" message, saying: “The lack of maintenance of this estate is of concern.”
1 April Neglect of our homes, architectural
mugging and Drivers & Norris having to pay back our service
charges in one letter in today’s Islington Tribune, entitled Assault
on heritage. Here is an excerpt:
15 March We’re trying to track down former Northview leaseholders who may be due a share of the payout. If you lived here since Drivers & Norris took over management in 2003 or know someone who did, contact us on northviewresidents [at] yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk.
25 February Leasehold valuation tribunal says the evidence suggested Northview managing agent Drivers & Norris had an “unresponsive, unhelpful and even an aggressive management style”.
As well as half the management fees (£29,187.28), the whole of the reserve fund – worth £27,320.96 – has to be paid back after the leasehold valuation tribunal found “quite fundamental errors in managing” it.
More on the tribunal findings at Northview residents due to be repaid over £1,000 each.
18 February Northview residents get some major wins in a leasehold valuation tribunal case, including refunds of the reserve fund and half of the management fees going back to 2003.
Fury at fresh bid to build extra storey at 1930s block with a sense of community.
Excerpt from Peter Gruner’s article
NEIGHBOURS in a distinctive block of 1930s flats in Holloway launched a new battle this week against an “overbearing” development which they claim will ruin their community.
Resident Ben Porter said: “It is an asset to a much-maligned area
and should be protected from cynical overdevelopment,” he said.
6 February Residents Jan Kinnin and Ben Porter profiled in Islington Tribune (left). Ben Porter says: “Developers want to build an extra single storey above our block of unique 1930s private dwellings in Tufnell Park Road. It will block out the light to some residents and overlook others. It will ruin the area around the flats.” The article says: “His objection is supported by James Dunnett, a member of the Islington Society, who described the design as ‘crude’ and likely to ‘ruin’ the unique village green appearance of the estate.”2 February James Dunnett RIBA describes proposed scheme as “very crude”
“The scheme seems very similar in bulk to … the first application, with modified architectural details, not evidently for the better – i.e. it remains very crude, for example the relationship between the raised stair ‘towers’ and the extra storey.
“It doesn’t seem to me that the daylight study tackles the main issue, which is the effect of the extra storey on the existing flats beneath it and the courtyard – the study concerns the impact on neighbouring properties, which have never seemed likely to be the worst affected, apart from flats in the taller block on Tufnell Park Road. So in that sense it seems irrelevant.
“The fourth storey on the block on Tufnell Park Road itself is on the north side so will have less effect in overshadowing the courtyard than would an extra storey on the south side. An extra storey on one side should not mean that an extra storey would be acceptable all round.”
“The transition from the taller block on Tufnell Park Road to the lower block behind around the courtyard is a very pleasant feature, a gain in ‘intimacy’ as the site is entered, and this will be lost if the courtyard block is raised, quite apart from the loss in feeling of light and ‘openness’.”
20 January Sent in our opposition to our freeholders’ latest plan to build on top of our estate (above, left). Download Northview Residents’ Association’s objection document.
19 January Letter from resident to council describes proposals as “architectural mugging”.
16 January Consider looking to see if there’s and award for Least Sustainable Housing Development – proposed floor seems to breach every Islington council, London Plan and government sustainability policy. Is sustainable neither inenvironmental terms nor as a place to live.
15 January Bike enthusiasts on Northview point out that proposed cycle store is insecure and be a magnet for thieves. And it’ll create a dark corner where people can lurk unseen.
14 January Email from Architects Registration Board about the company that drew up the plans. It’s called Pinnacle Architectural Services, and Pinnacle Architecture is registered at the same address at Companies House. Email says: “I can confirm that there is no architect registered at that address, so one can therefore safely assume that Pinnacle Architectural Services is not an architects’ practice.”
12 January Light report also seems to infer that, because city homes often have less than optimal light, it is acceptable to cut this further.
11 January Discover that 1-12 Northview is also an area of special character. In the Greater London Development Plan, these were “areas of metropolitan importance, the preservation of which is considered essential to the retention of the character of London as a whole”.
10 January A neighbour says the new designs will make Northview look like a barrel, instead of a classic 1930 building.
10 January Conflicting statements in latest application to build another storey on Northview – one application document says it won’t cut light, another says it will. Likewise, one document says trees won’t need to be cut, another says they will.
6 January Drawings for extra storey now available. Application actually admits that proposed development will cut natural light to some windows
5 January Application documents appear on Islington’s website. So much for getting 21 days for making comments – it’s more like two weeks. We’d have even less time if we had to go to the office or ask the council for hard copies.
30 December Letters received by some leaseholders saying our freeholders are making a third attempt to build on top of Northview. Application lodged, consultation open until 20 January, but no papers, drawings or anything else available. Letter from council dated 21 December, postmarked 23 December.
22 December Islington council’s building control department confirms that window has been replaced in Northview without consent. Picture of the window on Flickr at http://tinyurl.com/badglaze.
30 November Have found the front block of 12 flats in Northview has been designated a special policy area.
12 November Enclave is a design gem. A gem of an enclave that could be a blueprint for housing schemes – letter in Islington Tribune after CABE’s funding cut. Click here to read Design gem letter in full. Excerpt below.
“Earlier this year, CABE started a debate on ‘ordinary places’,
and found that cost and time were preventing locally distinct
schemes from being designed and built.
21 September Seven trees at Northview get protected by tree preservation orders, including the one shown here. So we won’t be arriving home to find they’re being cut again.
14 September Message from Save Finsbury Health Centre campaigners: “Have seen about your fight at Northview - best of luck.”
16 August More social history needed if we’re to get Northview locally listed, say the council, so it’s back to the local history centre today
11 August Planning application to build another storey on top of our nearly intact 1930s estate has been deemed invalid by the council.
16 July Architectural gems deserve preserving, not vandalising. Letter in the Islington Tribune. Excerpt: “Sadly, Holloway’s unique and eclectic mix of architectural styles – including our 1930s corner here – can be particularly vulnerable to overdevelopment. Local architectural gems should be preserved, not vandalised in the name of profit.” Click here to read Architectural gems letter in full.
7 July Our freeholders have withdrawn their application for a ghastly extension to Northview – but we’ve heard rumours they’re planning something else. Await with dread…
2 July Buzz off! 40,000 bees, which made a perfect honeycomb about 4ft long in Northview’s roofspace, were removed this week.
25 June Building control say they’re investigating whether window that’s REALLY in keeping with original Crittall and replacement windows has consent after we reported it. Picture of it at http://tinyurl.com/2wehbsg
30 May Message from Russ Ager, commercial manager at Crittall windows, regarding the window installed this month: “Totally agree. The uPVC replacement looks awful and spoils the architecture of this classic building.” Follow Russ Ager on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/russaatcrittall.
26 May Bad repairs to an original Crittall window at Northview. Pictures on Flickr at http://tinyurl.com/badglaze
18 May Elanor Warwick, head of evidence at CABE, says: “We like unheralded examples of good design… We’ll investigate Northview”
7 May The two candidates who have written in support of the list Northview campaign - LibDems Tracy Ismail and David Wilson – have both been elected councillors for St George’s Ward, Islington.
7 May Letter in Islington Tribune: Profit-driven developers put neglected heritage in danger
Here it is:
“The action to stop developers from stuffing the Beaux Arts
Building with flats and offices is to be commended.
29 April Our managing agents’ window is advertising auctions for February and December 2009. In February last year, according to Estates Gazette, nothing was sold in the auction room.
28 April "I’m very much in favour of listing North View,” – email from David Wilson, a Liberal Democrat candidate in the local election.
23 April The government design watchdog, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, approves a Northview post on its website. Its Ordinary Places document is intended to spark a debate about residential areas around city centres, as they can suffer from "badly designed new housing". See www.cabe.org.uk/news/a-new-focus-on-ordinary-places
21 April More support – this time from John Keleher, who looks after IT at Crittall, the firm that made Northview’s original metal windows: "I wish you luck in your efforts," says John Keleher, who lists architecture and construction among his interests. We’re following each other on Twitter – he’s on http://www.twitter.com/johnkatcrittall.
5 April More strong political support for our
campaign to get Northview locally listed. “I support this 100%,”
says Tracy Ismail, one of our ward Liberal Democrat councillors
30 March First political support message – from Cllr Ursula Woolley, Lib Dem deputy leader of Islington council: “That’s a great idea – I do like the building personally and will definitely back you.”
29 March Building Design magazine get in touch. They seemed to find it quite entertaining that we’d compared the proposed development at Northview to buildings shortlisted for their Carbuncle Cup award, “architecture’s only prize for sheer, downright ugliness”.
26 March Our bid for listing is in the letters page of the Islington Tribune. The letter, written in response to ghastly proposals for the Beaux Arts Building, also says: “We trust that local listing would also make owners think twice before trying to vandalise people’s homes and showing such contempt for rare and important parts of Islington’s heritage.”
Here it is:
25 March Checking Islington’s locally listed buildings and find that one is an adult cinema club’s shopfront on the Cally Road. Perhaps it has a more interesting history than Northview does.
15 January Page lead in Islington Tribune. Read “Architectural vandalism threat to estate with own village green”.
Story follows our contacting James Dunnett (see below).
13 January James Dunnett (left) and Peter Gruner (right) from the Islington Tribune visit. James Dunnett says Northview worthy of local listing.
7 January Email James Dunnett RIBA, a modern architecture expert, who spoke about 1930s architecture at a joint meeting of the Islington Archaeology & History Society and the Islington Society (he doesn’t know us). He emails back with extremely useful comments and provides our campaign with some welcome credibility.
December 2009 Freeholders apply to build horrible extra storey on top of Northview’s back block