Golden Lane Estate campaigners hang banners protesting luxury block being marketed in Hong Kong at £725k plus

PUBLISHED: 16:14 09 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:04 12 October 2017

The banners have been hung from Bowater House, which faces the development site. Picture: Emma Matthews

The banners have been hung from Bowater House, which faces the development site. Picture: Emma Matthews


Campaigners who say a luxury housing block will ruin their historic estate are using their own homes directly opposite as a billboard to picket developers.

Banners have been hung from the balconies of Bowater House on the Golden Lane Estate with messages from leading artists and writers, including Turner Prize winners Jeremy Deller and Elizabeth Price and Booker nominee Tom McCarthy.

The block is directly opposite Bernard Morgan House, which is set to be flattened and replaced by a 10-storey high-rise named The Denizen. The Denizen is currently being flaunted in Hong Kong with prices beginning at £725,000 for a studio.

Sadly there will be no affordable housing in the block – a £4.5million contribution from developer Taylor Wimpey will help fund social rent flats on the Islington side of the estate instead – but a brochure boasts there will be a private cinema and games room.

And next time staff visit the site they will be able to read brightly coloured messages that include: “Under London, heaven’s light, grow lives, not loot,” “free exorcism with every Taylor Wimpey ghost home,” and simply “wimps”.

Despite planning permission being granted by the City, the community is still hopeful of stopping the work, arguing the block will overshadow existing homes, the much-loved Fortune Street Park and primary school Prior Weston.

A crowdfunding page has raised more than £10,000 to pay for legal action challenging the City’s decision, with the deadline for an appeal set at tomorrow.

“We believe we have a strong case,” said campaigner Emma Matthews. “This was a flawed decision and we have to continue the battle to protect our special community.

“The planners have said the public benefits outweigh the losses our community will suffer but these public benefits have not been explained. We have seen only public detriment.

“Maybe if they hadn’t included private cinemas and marble floors in the building they could have afforded a bigger contribution towards affordable homes.”

The protest, called Spectres of Modernism, has been launched to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair, when the “international super-rich descend on London to invest in the capital’s cultural products”.

Taylor Wimpey Central London’s sales and marketing director Darren McCormack said: “Taylor Wimpey Central London is creating a broad range of developments, small boutique schemes like The Denizen, to large scale regeneration projects like Battersea Exchange, where we are also able to deliver affordable homes on site and new community facilities including a state of the art school.

“We have contributed £4.5million to provide off-site affordable housing as part of our responsibilities for building The Denizen, as agreed with the local council.

“London is a prime location for both domestic and international buyers. Homes at The Denizen were offered for sale in the UK first, as with all of our properties. With such an iconic location, they have understandably received interest internationally also. Buyer demographics for our schemes are always varied and include owner occupiers and buy-to-let investors from the UK and overseas.”

You can view the protesters’ fundraiser here.

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