Mount Pleasant

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In support of residents against Royal Mail’s planned property developments in Holborn

by Cllr Awale Olad

Royal Mail is keen on increasing its property portfolio (and therefore increase its net asset worth by a couple of hundred million) if they get planning permission from both Camden and Islington, before the Conservative-led government finally puts into private hands. Shrewd business from the Royal Mail but at what cost to our residents?

In summary, the Mount Pleasant site is set for a huge redevelopment that includes the erection of 12 storeys, comprising 681 residential units, 4,260 sq.m. of office space, 2,250 sq.m. retail and community space, with parking, landscaping and public realm works.

The development will greatly impact residents who live in Laystall Court and Calthorpe Street. It will also be up against the towering ITN headquarters in Gray’s Inn Road. It’s environmental impact will be substantial and the public realm will undergo a huge transformation. Local services, schools, and GPs, will also be put under great pressure.

As our Calthorpe Street residents point out in their submission to the Development Control Committee, this site should have been earmarked for a Secondary School. But Royal Mail have continuously objected to having one on site because it’s not ‘viable’ to their business case. Wren Street has now been given the go-ahead for the Secondary School.

A further slap in the face is the lack of social housing – only 19% percent of the development will be affordable/social housing – a nonsensical amount. Our policy states that all developments of this size needs to meet the 50% target.

Cllr Julian Fulbrook and I will be supporting our residents and objecting to this application from Royal Mail. Cllr Sue Vincent is chairing the Development Control Committee and given its quasi-judicial nature, is not allowed to have a predetermined opinion.

This article is a cross-post from Cllr Olad's blog

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