September 22 2014 Latest news:
by Joseph Ataman
Saturday, August 23, 2014
The controversial recladding of an often derided Islington landmark has been given the go-ahead despite plans not reducing the building’s infamous wind blight.
The Archway Tower, on the corner of Junction Road and Holloway Road, is well-known for the turbulent wind it funnels on to nearby streets.
Islington Council wanted any redevelopment plan to tackle this.
But when Essential Living’s planning application to re-clad the building’s black exterior didn’t address this, the council missed the deadline to turn it down.
The developers, which will convert the block into flats, were then able to appeal directly to a planning inspector, who last week gave the scheme the nod.
A spokesman for Islington Council said: “As with many buildings of a similar age Archway Tower creates wind blight in the areas around it. Essential Living’s proposal for re-cladding the building will increase the severity of this problem in some locations.
“We are disappointed they did not take the opportunity to improve the busy pedestrian environment around the tower but has actually made it worse in some locations.”
Kate Calvert, from the Better Archway Forum, said: “It seems a strange decision on Estate Living’s part to have pursued a legal appeal rather than pay the relatively small cost of implementing the changes recommended by the council, especially given the expense of the redevelopment.”
This ruling looks set to complete several years of legal wrangling over the building’s future.
The 195ft office block was completed in 1963 above Archway Tube station and was used by the Department for Social Security during the 1980s, but has been vacant since 2012.
Rob Whiting, from Essential Living, said: “We are delighted with the decision which will dramatically improve the exterior of Archway Tower and vastly improve the horizon for many local people.
“Our plans will bring the building back into use to the benefit of the local area, particularly business close-by.”
If the redevelopment goes to plan, new residents will move into the tower in spring 2016.
This is not the first time the council has missed a planning deadline, thereby losing its right to rule on decisions. Last year, it was criticised for failing to act in time over a plan to turn the Good Intent Pub, in Wedmore Street, Upper Holloway, into flats – a planning inspector then gave the scheme the go-ahead.