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Historic Archway hospital site homes scheme under fire

Conservation fears as housing association unveils proposals for Archway Campus

26 July, 2019 — By Emily Finch

An illustration of how the new homes could look at the Archway Campus

A CONSERVATION group has warned that plans to transform a former Victorian hospital into 290 new homes could ruin the historic status of the building.

Housing association giant Peabody released their proposals for the Archway Campus, at the bottom of Highgate Hill, this week as part of a public consultation survey.

Final plans are due to be submitted to Islington Council in September.

The development will see eight new buildings go up around the former infirmary for the Holborn and Finsbury Union which was designed by the Victorian architect Henry Saxon Snell.

Peabody’s plans include a new 12-storey building to the south of the site and “bookend extensions” which will provide new lifts.

But Kate Calvert, from the Better Archway Forum, warned that the 12-storey building would block the spire, which is the main focal point of the current building when viewed from certain angles.

She said: “We are concerned that the conservation area status created to protect that site appears to be being ignored. You wouldn’t be able to see the roofline anymore.”

Peabody have promised to make 50 per cent of the new homes “affordable” with “a significant proportion” at low-cost rent, according to their consultation document.

It is not yet known what percentage of these “affordable” homes will be shared ownership. The other 50 per cent will be sold at market levels.

The current buildings on the 1.4-hectare site are locally listed and within a conservation area which means any changes to the buildings must “enhance or preserve” them in line with government policy.

They are of “high architectural significance as a fine example of a substantial Gothic revival workhouse infirmary” according to the council’s conservation area statement for the building dated from 2014.

Peabody announced that they had bought the former Holloway Prison site from the Ministry of Justice for £81.5million in March with plans to build more than 1,000 on the site. A Peabody spokesman said: “We are bringing forward a new vision for Archway Campus. Having listened to the local community, the council and others, we feel our updated proposals will deliver significant benefits for the area.

“We want to increase the number of genuinely affordable homes on the scheme as much as we can. We also propose to provide new community and public open space for everyone in the area.

“We look forward to continuing the conversation at events over the next week to display the concept plans and discuss our new proposals with the community. Once we’ve gathered views we would hope to report back in the autumn, with a planning application hopefully submitted by the end of the year.”


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