April 19 2014 Latest news:

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A makeover of the hated Archway Tower is a step closer after designs were revealed to the public on Monday.

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Essential Living, the developer taking on the challenge of re-branding the building, invited its neighbours to take a look at an artist’s impression of what the building might look like when it is completed in 2016.

Design

The company, which is turning the former office block into 118 one and two bedroom studio flats, is set to overhaul the outside, covering its dark exterior with a light cladding – which was the main request at a consultation held with residents in November.

However, despite the plans, which include a communal space on the roof with views of the city, some of those who live in the area said that the company is “putting lipstick on a pig”.

Dominic Fleming, 25, who lives in Bickerton Road, said: “It’s really interesting to see the design.

“It’s awful at the moment, so they couldn’t make it much worse.

“The main worry is the movement issue.”

He added: “I commute to the city on the bus because the Tube is already a nightmare during rush hour and will be even worse after this.

“But then again, if it’s used as offices there will probably be the same problem.”

Daphne Coleman, of Waterlow Road, said: “They need to do something with it, it’s hideous, but its just putting lipstick on a pig.

“They really need to do something about the famous wind issues they have here as well. It’s horrendous coming around the corner on a windy day.”

Rob Whiting, who is managing the project for Essential Living, said: “We’ve tried to take on board people’s opinions and come up with a good- looking solution and hopefully they will enjoy it, and it will be worth it.

“We also wanted to create a space where people who live here can come to exercise, use it for business or for entertaining friends.”

Flats

Plans for the changes go before Islington Council in the next month but Essential Living does not need permission to change the office space into flats because of relaxed planning laws brought in last May.

A town hall appeal against the changes failed last month, but councillors hope to gain an exemption to protect commercial property in the borough and to achieve its target of ensuring that 50 per cent of new housing is rated as ‘affordable’.

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