O2 Centre Redevelopment – Update from March & April Meetings with Landsec (site owners)

Landsec Consultation Summary: In March Landsec, owners of the O2 centre site, published a summary of responses to their latest consultation. Key points include a positive response to new green spaces, apprehension about the overall scale, especially the plan for 2000 new flats, and concern about how existing services like the tube will cope. The summary is here

Key points from Landsec meeting: At the end of March representatives from Landsec spoke to a lively online meeting organised by local group WHAT and the West Hampstead Neighbourhood Development Forum. 90 residents attended, with more turned away due to Zoom capacity, which shows the level of local interest. We’ve tried to summarise the main points made, and the main concerns raised in the box below.

Generally, residents were frustrated that Landsec was unable to give answers on key questions such as “what is meant by affordable housing”, “will there be a lift at the tube station to cope with these new people”, “how high will the buildings be” “will there be a replacement for Sainsburys” and “will there be a new GP surgery”. People didn’t feel that much thought had been given to the impact of the development on the people who live here now. 

Landsec Next Steps: During April Landsec are holding small workshops with community groups, with the next round of consultation launching in mid-May. Cllr Flick Rea and local campaigner Janet Grauberg attended one of these sessions and heard that they are still looking at building heights of up to 15 storeys at the north of the site, and six storeys along Finchley Road, which would significantly affect the views from all around the area. 

It’s also worrying that the proposed park and amenities are on land Landsec don’t own (where the Audi garage is now) and that there is no information from anyone about whether West Hampstead or Finchley Road tube stations are going to be upgraded to cope with the additional passengers

Landsec are still targeting a formal planning application in December. If you are a member of a residents association or other local group and want to get involved, you can email them on [email protected]

Camden Council’s Consultation: The council’s consultation on the criteria it will use to assess any planning application closed at the beginning of April. NW6 Liberal Democrats asked the Council to extend the consultation to the end of May so there could be exhibitions in the libraries when they re-open in mid-April, but this was rejected. Thank you to the over 180 people who signed our petition to get the consultation extended – we’re sorry the Council didn’t listen to us! 

If you have any views on the proposed redevelopment, or the consultation process, do drop us a line at [email protected]

Landsec Public Meeting: New Information

  • Height: The proposal is for 6 storey buildings at the West End Lane edge of the site, the main part will be mostly 8-10 storeys, with some “pinpoint” buildings at 12 -16 storeys. There will also be some smaller “modern mansion blocks” and townhouses.
  • Land use: The green park and community amenities are proposed for land that Landsec doesn’t own yet – the land that is currently used for the Audi dealership.
  • Timescale: The whole project is scheduled for completion in 2036 – with the O2 centre replaced late in the timetable.
  • Workspaces: Some of the ground floors of the residential blocks will be available for shared workspaces, community space etc.
  • Affordable housing: the target is 35% affordable housing. The external design of the building will be the same whether private or affordable.

Landsec Public Meeting: Main Concerns

  • Tube capacity and access: There is already serious congestion both at the stations and on the tubes at West Hampstead & Finchley Road, and this will make it worse. Landsec said they were discussing this issue with Camden and Transport for London but were unable to make any commitments, including as to whether lift access for West Hampstead would be built.
  • Noise from the railways: The residential blocks would be too close to the railways and the design didn’t recognise the noise from the tracks.
  • Timetable: The residential blocks would be built before the new amenities, putting pressure on existing services.
  • Height: 16 storeys was considered far too high, and risked setting a precedent for the area.
  • Parking: A car-free development would not be attractive to Sainsbury’s or any replacement supermarket. It would mean increased pressure on street parking in the neighbouring streets and illegal parking on the site. 
  • Housing segregation: The community did not want “poor doors” and segregation between the residents of the private and affordable housing.
  • Property ownership: There was a risk that many of the flats would be turned into short-term lets, or bought by overseas investors, with owners having no stake in the local community.

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