We were consulted in late 2019 for a major redevelopment proposal in the heart of the West End, variously called Selkirk House, Travelodge, and ‘One Museum Street’ by the developers LabTech and DSDHA.
After we raised concerns about the potential scale of the scheme, the developers subsequently misrepresented our advice as ‘enthusiasm’ for the tower to Camden’s top planners, despite not even sharing any details of the tower with us whatsoever.
The site is situated between the Bloomsbury and Seven Dials Conservation Areas, which we act as an advisory committee for.
The scheme is evidently entirely out of context in both scale and design considering the surrounding historic townscape. But given Camden’s appalling record in approving the ‘Post Building’ just nextdoor, a precedent has perhaps been set for ‘big and ugly’ development in this sensitive area.
The height of the tower means it is likely visible from a number of historic locations, with views being requested from as far afield as Trafalgar Square and Parliament Hill. Despite requests, the developers have refused to fly a blimp.
We are also particularly concerned about proposed changes to neighbouring historic Georgian and Victorian buildings, apparently meant to integrate the design of these buildings with the tower, something we find to be completely inappropriate.
We have alerted the Victorian Society and Georgian Group officers to this proposal and will be liaising with them in coming to an objection. We have also been in close contact with local amenity societies and ward councillors about the scheme.
It is clear that the developer are completely uninterested in listening to the concerns of both the community and local councillors, and are adopting the increasingly common brute force approach.
Whether Camden’s planners and councillors will be bullied into submission remains to be seen. If minded for approval by the committee in the coming months, we will apply to the Secretary of State for a call-in.