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“Choudhury Mansions” – Planning Inspector urged to uphold demolition order despite owner’s last ditch maneouvre

November 6, 2010

Probably the worst building in our neighbourhood ... it has a demolition order ready to go

The 4 year battle to remove a “modern slum” on Pembroke Street enters its final stage after the owner of Choudhury Mansions lodged a desperate appeal against Islington Council’s decision to demolish his building. A planning inspector will consider the appeal at an enquiry hearing beginning on 20th January 2011.

The building is on the site of the old Marquess of Salisbury public house on the corner of Freeling Street and Pembroke Street.

Cally Councillors have asked the Inspector to back the Council’s latest decision and uphold an earlier ruling that the building should be demolished.

The lengthy saga over this site began in 2001 when the closed pub was sold to a developer (trading as “Volta Developments”) who is quite well known in the area.

Construction began in early 2006 but the new building did not match the plans originally granted four years earlier. After pressure from local Councillors, Islington began enforcement action.

In 2008, the owner tried to get planning permission to regularise the building as constructed but this was refused and Islington issued a demolition order on the building. The owner appealed and lost. The Inspector upheld the demolition order but offered a final “chink of light” to the owner.

So the Council invited him to submit further plans to reconstruct the building in ways that would meet the Council’s planning policies. But these plans were dubbed “a disgrace” by local Councillors who said they “fundamentally failed to meet Islington’s basic planning policies.” The Planning Committee in September 2010 agreed and the scheme was rejected outright. There were 3 substantive reasons:

  • The owner tried to flout Islington’s affordable housing requirement. The current building has 14 apartments and the owner wanted to reduce this to just nine – thereby dropping below the threshold at which affordable homes must be provided.
  • The revised building would not provide any “amenity space” for any of flats, for example by providing gardens or yards for family-sized units. It also significantly failed to meet the standards for disabled access.
  • The standard of design was very poor and it did not match the scale or character of adjacent buildings.

The public enquiry will be held in Meeting Room 2 at the Municipal Office at 222 Upper Street on Thursday 20 January 2011 beginning at 10am.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. D. Barnes permalink
    November 7, 2010 2:00 pm

    I watched the building of Choudhury Mansions, along with other neighbours; and I’m astonished that the building has not already collapsed. I watched the foundations being laid and having to be replaced three times, I also noticed how many times there were different builders doing the work, (cowboy is the word that springs to mind.) Now walking pass the building I notice the smell and rubbish around and under the bins, this encourages rats, as well as being such an eyesore. The neighbourhood deserves better.

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