10-year-old leads campaign against plans to demolish former Holloway toy factory where Doctor Who was filmed

Nathan Newham, 10

Nathan Newham, 10 - Credit: Archant

A 10-year-old Holloway boy is at the forefront of a campaign to stop developers building six new homes that would overlook his family’s garden.

Residents opposed to the deveolpment in George's Street with Nathan and his poster

Residents opposed to the deveolpment in George's Street with Nathan and his poster - Credit: Archant

SE1 Property Services want to replace a row of early 19th-century workshops in George’s Road that were used as a location for filming Jon Pertwee’s first Doctor Who adventure with six three-storey homes and a 200 square metre business space.

But Nathan Newham, who lives with his parents Lucy and Robert and brothers in neighbouring Chillingworth Road, says the homes would disrupt his family life – and has designed a poster to encourage others to oppose the plans.


Nathan and neighbours, who include artist Bobby Baker, have urged the council to reject the development, saying it would flout the rules of St Mary Magdalene Conservation Area that the site falls within.

Nathan found out about the plans when he overheard his mother talking to one of their neighbours and has written a letter to the town hall about his concerns over people looking right in to his garden where he plays with his eight-year-old brother Leo, who has Down’s Syndrome.

“I have a disabled brother and I don’t want hundreds of faces looking at us when we are playing nicely,” said Nathan.

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“The builders may be making a lot of money but lots of people will be unhappy and miserable about the building.”

The St Mary Magdalene Conservation Area is the oldest in Islington and its guidelines state that the council will not consider removal of 18th and 19th century buildings in the area, except for in special circumstances or where the proposal would preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area.

But a heritage statement prepared by Beacon Planning for the applicant identifies the current building as “a negative element” of the heritage aspects, which “does not contribute to their significance”.

The warehouses used to be Favourite Toy Factory and are now home to a recording studio and a car repair workshop. The toy factory was used as a site to film Doctor Who’s Spearhead From Space in September 1969.

The new houses would be next door to the studio of Ms Baker. She said: “The developer wants to build three floors high only a couple of metres from my back door.

“It would block all the daylight, turning my flat into a sort of dungeon, and make it impossible for me to paint there any more.”

A report conducted for the developer found that five windows next to the development would lose more than the recommended amount of light but concluded that overall light loss was acceptable.