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Campaigners say Islington Council ‘sold them out’ over Mount Pleasant

PUBLISHED: 11:59 13 October 2014 | UPDATED: 11:59 13 October 2014

Aerial view of Royal Mail's design for Mount Pleasant site

Aerial view of Royal Mail's design for Mount Pleasant site

Archant

Neighbours who strongly oppose the Royal Mail’s design for the Mount Pleasant site have said the council “sold them out” at the public hearing over the Mayor’s decision.

Artists impression of aerial view of Mount Pleasant Association's Artists impression of aerial view of Mount Pleasant Association's "alternative vision", Mount Pleasant Circus and Fleet Valley Gardens

When asked by Boris Johnson if they objected to the “style and architecture” of the design case, officer Sarah Ricketts confirmed the Mayor’s suspicions that the council had not raised objections to the master planning principles of the scheme.

While she said that the council seconded objections from the Mount Pleasant Association on reduction of sunlight, height of buildings and harm to heritage assets, the Mayor’s suggestion that the town hall would compromise on these aspects for a greater percentage of affordable housing seemed to be agreed.

Maisie Rowe, of Wharton Street, an architect opposed to the plans, said: “The borough has really sold us out. There were two angles on this scheme, one was affordable housing and one was design quality and the angle that the boroughs chose was affordable housing to the detriment of everything else. This was a key moment when he turned and asked them if they had a problem with the design quality and they said no.

“They handed the decision to him on a plate. This was a moment of vulnerability where he was asking them to be concerned about the design and support us, but they sold us down the river.”

The council are currently working with the MPA on alternative designs for the site in the shape of their Mount Pleasant Circus proposals and Cllr Murray warned the Mayor at the hearing that accepting the RMG scheme could “fatally undermine” the alternative.

Cllr Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “Mount Pleasant is a huge wasted opportunity to provide hundreds of desperately needed affordable homes for local residents.

“We have been in discussions with the Mount Pleasant Association about an alternative scheme, and we’ll be working closely with them to take it forward.”


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