The enormous redevelopment scheme at 330 Gray’s Inn Road is the latest inappropriate planning application to have been rubber stamped by Camden’s Rubber Stamp Committee, sometimes also known as the ‘Planning’ Committee.
As usual, multiple objections were received from significant and insignificant consultees alike, all of which were completely ignored by Camden’s planners in recommending the scheme for approval.
Camden invited the Bloomsbury CAAC for a ‘walkabout and workshop’ with the architect, with a Camden conservation officer and a planning consultant also in attendance.
Despite an hour’s worth of detailed comments on the design in a final exhortation to make the enormous scheme at least a little less ugly, Camden’s planners didn’t ask the developer to work any of our points into the scheme whatsoever, despite such requests not materially altering the profitability of the scheme in any way at all.
It exemplifies perfectly the level of apathy and disregard now shown to conservation and consultation in a planning system which serves only to rake in millions for the council at the expense of London’s special built heritage and the people who live within it.
With ‘Acorn House’ and ‘Belgrove House’ approved and the Eastman Dental Hospital redevelopment now thoroughly underway, it seems Camden has tacitly approved a district of high rises along Gray’s Inn Road, despite it still comprising mainly Georgian terraces along its length.
UCL’s Ear Institute, immediately neighbouring the site, complained that approval of the scheme would lead to a significant loss of funding, and would impact upon ongoing research projects. But despite being within the so-called ‘Knowledge Quarter’ designed to promote scientific research, these objections were similarly brushed aside.
It seems the ‘Knowledge’ in ‘Knowledge Quarter’ is simply the knowledge that any scheme above 5 storeys proposed within it is certain to be approved.