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Islington Tribune - by PETER GRUNER
Published: 25 September 2009
Cllr Paul Convery outside the flats threatened with demolition
Cllr Paul Convery outside the flats threatened with demolition

Developer told to bulldoze homes after planning appeal fails

DEMOLITION looms for a new £2million block of flats in King’s Cross after the developer failed to stick to his original plans.
Property developer Niaz Choudhury has been told by a government planning inspector that the 13 flats in Pembroke Street must come down within nine months.
The inspector described the five-storey flats as “ungainly and incongruous” in appearance and “harmful to the character of the locality”.
Mr Choudhury, who says he spent his life savings on the project, even named the block Choudhury Mansions.
He is still hoping for a last-minute compromise with Islington Council in which he will be able to alter the building to make it acceptable to planners.
The flats, on the site of a pub, The Marquis of Salisbury, were built three years ago and are currently being rented to a mixture of professionals and foreign students.
Islington planning department argued that the flats built differed from the plans approved. Objections centred on the colours used for external painting, including oatmeal, the “cramped and unattractive” entrance to the flats, lack of an internal bin area, an “obtrusive” lift tower on the roof, and claims that some balconies on the fourth floor overlooked flats on the Bemerton estate next door.
Mr Choudhury sought retrospective planning permission for the changes last year, but this was refused by the council’s west area planning committee.
He appealed but government planning inspector David Harrison sided with the council. He said there were a number of significant differences between the plans as approved and what had been built.
Mr Harrison added: “The overall difference is so marked that I am in no doubt that what has been built is not the approved building.”
Mr Choudhury offered to put right all the objections to the development rather than see it demolished.
But Mr Harrison in his report states: “I do not consider that the range of alterations to the building put forward by the appellant would overcome the harm to the appearance of the area.”
Mr Choudhury said: “At the end of the day it’s four main items. They don’t like the colour, they don’t like the lift house, they want the bins kept within the building rather than outside, and they are worried about overlooking next-door flats.
“OK, I can sort all these problems out. Surely they don’t need to demolish an entire block of mansion flats because of a few issues over the original plans.”
Caledonian ward Labour councillor Paul Convery said it was very sad that the building would have to come down. “This is a case of a developer not sticking to his original planning brief,” he added. “I’m sorry for him because it has cost him a lot of time and money. But we have rules and developers must stick to them.
“I remember seeing the building when it was going up and thinking then it was not how we saw it in the plans.”

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IMHO, this is utterly ridicilous... to demolish a building because it is "incongruous in appearance" i.e. because the colour clashes with the surroundings. I just don't know what to say. Further, I live in the area and I think the building actually looks nice. Claiming that it's "harmful to the character of the locality" is a bit too far-fetched.


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