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Bunhill and Clerkenwell tenants ‘worn down’ by building work

Residents say scheme to build 21 homes above them ‘fills people with a sense of foreboding’

26 April, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Glyn Robbins: ‘You are literally talking about building on top of people’s heads – it fills people with a sense of foreboding and doom’

TENANTS who have been “worn down” by endless redevelopment work around them have criticised a Town Hall scheme that could see 20 new homes built on top of their houses.

The Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) in Quaker Court, Bunhill, has written a letter to the council opposing plans to build an extra two floors of social-rent homes on top of their development.

Residents feel properties are being “crammed” in on top of them with several high-rise developments being built and in the pipeline around the Bunhill and Clerkenwell area.

Glyn Robbins, a manager at Quaker Court estate, said: “You are literally talking about building on top of people’s heads. It fills people with a sense of foreboding and doom. I know development fatigue isn’t a statutory objection, but it really should be. People are being worn down and their mental health is suffering.”

The Quaker Court houses are part of a wider scheme involving the 19-storey Braithwaite House next to it as well.

The TMO’s letter came in the wake of objections raised by residents in Braithwaite House, as reported by the Tribune last week, where they argued that money should be invested in fire-safety measures before new buildings are introduced.

The council plans to demolish a podium, and garages below, which both housing blocks encircle and build four homes there.

There are also plans to build a tower block at the south end of Braithwaite House, called Chequer Court, with 16 units in it.

The Quaker Court TMO is calling on the council to build up this block higher instead of putting the new homes on top of them.

The new properties will be built on top of Quaker Court will be built off-site and then assembled on the roof of the current block.

Quaker Court caretaker Jackie Cross said: “We live in a building site, it has been like this for years a round here seven days a week. We can’t open our windows, there’s constant noise and pollution.

“They are cramming everything in at this end of the borough and leaving the nice wealthy parts like Angel and Highbury.”

The council are consulting on the scheme at the moment and today (Friday) is the last chance to make comments in the current period.

The TMO’s letter says: “We think the current proposals are not in the interests of the estate residents we represent.

“The project is too complicated and will cause massive disruption.”

Vilma Jarrold is a leaseholder in Quaker Court. She is worried about the hike in service charges that will be levied onto leaseholders with more social rent tenants using the block and two new lifts installed to help the residents access the flats above.

A council spokeswoman said: “The project at Quaker Court is in its second round of consultation, with feedback from residents already having been taken on board and changes made to the council’s plans.

“Local residents will get first dibs on any new council homes we build, and while we are on site we will also make improvements that the local community benefits from, such as a new community space and better landscaping.

“We understand that the project will involve some disruption for residents, which is unfortunately unavoidable during building work. However, we have listened to resident concerns and have committed to building most of the new homes off-site, hugely reducing build time with quicker installation and a reduction in noise and dust.”

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