We’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received over the past few months. If you don’t see yours here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here.
1) How big is this site?
The site is approximately 5.6 hectares – equivalent to between six and a half and nine football pitches, depending on the field. It extends from Finchley Road and the O2 Shopping Centre to West End Lane. It really is a huge site and one of the largest earmarked for development in Camden.
2) How much open space would be provided here?
50% of the current masterplan is dedicated to public, open space which is accessible to everyone. This includes four large areas – a town square at Finchley Road, a long-tree lined park connecting both ends of the site, a central square that could be used for community gardens, and a large new green at the west end of the site.
3) Why are you proposing so many homes here?
The O2 Centre site is uniquely positioned in that it is bounded by four railway stations and plenty of bus stops. It is an ideal location for a new community, and this is why it is earmarked for significant redevelopment in both local and regional planning policy.
We know this is a big change and a significant number of homes but the masterplan we’re consulting on also seeks to deliver much more. We want to create a green new neighbourhood here, with large green spaces, shops, restaurants, cafes, leisure spaces, workspaces and community facilities. We think it can be something really exciting and positive for the area.
4) How tall are these buildings going to be?
The buildings will range from 3 to 16 storeys. This will prevent the design from feeling too uniform or regimented whilst also allowing us to deliver the number of homes, including affordable homes, needed by the area. The taller buildings will be focused to the north of the site, bounded the railway line, to ensure the homes and green spaces get lots of natural light. You can read more about our approach to height and what’s informed our thinking so far by clicking here.
5) How many affordable homes will be provided?
We are proposing around 1,900 homes for this site, with a target of 35% of these to be affordable housing. This means around 665 affordable homes.
6) Why is this a car-free development?
Camden Council has declared a climate emergency and the area around Finchley Road suffers from high pollution levels and low air quality; a very real and urgent issue especially with so many schools and families here.
Car free development is therefore a requirement set by Camden Council and the Greater London Authority for major schemes in well-connected parts of London.
There will still be some parking – for instance for blue badge holders and service vehicles – and you can read more about this and why we feel so passionately about sustainability by viewing our latest proposals page here.
7) What impact will this have on local train stations?
We are in discussions with both Camden Council and Transport for London (TfL) to understand how this development will impact capacity. We know one of the main concerns for local residents is queuing outside West Hampstead station because of a limited number of ticket gates and we’ll be exploring whether we can help improve this and access to the station. This will be measured and calculated in detail as part of the Transport Assessment which will be submitted as part of the planning application. This will also be reviewed and assessed by both TfL and Camden.
As a next step, we will be commissioning a series of technical and social impact studies on each of these things and more. These will also form part of our Environmental Impact Assessment which we will submit to Camden as part of any planning application.
8) What is going to happen to the Sainsbury’s?
We know how important the Sainsbury’s is to the local community and are in discussions with them about having a new store within the transformed site. We have also ensured that there is space for a supermarket at the new town square, by Finchley Road, in direct response to feedback at our last consultation.
9) What other retailers might we see here?
We think there is great potential here for a mix of local as well as national brands. The important thing for us will be to ensure the spaces we design are the right size, flexible and fit for the future and that the offer complements local high streets. We’ve heard a lot already from local people about what you want to see here – a supermarket, more independents, a book shop, a garden centre, a cinema – and we really want to keep hearing your suggestions so that we can ensure this is a place for all.
10) How will you prevent people parking on local roads?
We will be working with Camden Council to look at the measures we can put in place to prevent this. This could include the introduction of local CPZ’s (Controlled Parking Zones) but we are looking at all the options and will report back at a later stage.
11) Will these green spaces be open to everyone?
Yes, all of the new green spaces and parks will be open to everyone.
12) How long will this project take?
This is a difficult question to answer precisely at the moment as we’re still focused on developing the masterplan and hearing what local people think.
What we do know for certain is that we will be delivering the scheme in phases and we can estimate that the entire project will take around 10-15 years to complete. The first phases could start on site in March 2024 and be delivered by 2028.
For more detail on our approach to construction and what the early phase of this masterplan includes, you can visit our latest proposals by clicking here.
13) When might the O2 Centre be demolished?
The O2 Centre would not be demolished for some time. Our current thinking is that any demolition would come towards the end of the construction process.
14) When are you submitting a planning application?
We intend to submit a planning application at the end of this year (2021) and we’ll update our website and everyone who has registered with us to let them know.
15) How can I have my say?
There are lots of ways you can feedback to us and have your say. We’re running an online survey on our latest plans which you can complete here. It only takes a few minutes and really helps us as we progress our designs. You can also get in touch with us directly by freephone, email and post and all of these details can be found by clicking here.