LANDSEC LOSS EXPOSES ERROR IN CAMDEN’S APPROACH TO O2 CENTRE RISK
■ Our community’s protections against the gargantuan O2 Centre development hurting our neighbourhood may be about to unravel. Camden Labour have been working behind the schemes for years with LandSec to push through their preferred scheme. Camden’s (Labour) Cabinet boasted last March they had “co-designed” the planning application with Land Securities (LandSec).
■ However, two months ago, Landsec reported a huge six-month loss of £200 million. At the same time, Landsec announced it would shrink its presence in London and auction off £4 billion of assets.
■ The proposed 24-storey skyscraper at 100 Avenue Road remains a hole in the ground. The developer has twice applied to waive or reduce its commitments to the community that it made when receiving planning permission.
■ While these attempts were refused by the Planning Inspector, it shows the difficulty of a council concocting plans behind closed doors with companies that are looking to review programmes and cut costs - as LandSec is.
■ Similarly, the 60-flat Park Place complex off Kilburn High Road was similarly held up by the developer’s insolvency, with some site works not complete 8 years after planning permission was granted.
■ The high rises proposed for the O2 Centre will transform our area’s character for the worse. Camden has said that instead of reducing the harm to our area’s character, it wants to LandSec to make a few promises to the area on what might ultimately go in the development.
■ But if LandSec’s financial troubles continue, Landsec can ask to abandon those commitments to our community - just as the developer at 100 Avenue Road asked to do.
■ Camden’s strategy of working hand in glove to build a mega-development with a troubled developer will prove to be very unwise.
■ For 3 years, Conservative councillors have led the campaign against Camden and LandSec’s plans for the O2 Centre, and we will continue to fight against them. We never take the huge risk with West Hampstead and South Hampstead that Labour are taking by getting into bed with LandSec.
Gio Spinella Gio.Spinella@camden.gov.uk