View from street of four storey 52 Tottenham Street, Fitzrovia. Photo: 15 August 2022.
The late-eighteenth century 52 Tottenham Street. Photo: Fitzrovia News (15 August 2022).

A Georgian townhouse on Tottenham Street can be knocked down, to make way for a new 11-storey development with four duplex homes, a Camden Council planning committee has decided.

It is the last remaining historic terraced building on the north side of Tottenham Street, between Charlotte Street and Cleveland Street, in Fitzrovia and was described to councillors at a meeting on 4 August as “something of an oddity” — as it is surrounded by taller, more modern buildings and “very little of the building is historic”, despite its appearance from the street.

The existing four storey building of four flats with a ground floor office or shop space could now be replaced with a new design by architects DSDHA.

The proposed replacement building at 52 Tottenham Street will be higher than its neighbours but be set back on the upper storeys. Image: DSDHA.

The first seven floors will match the height of nearby 27m high Arthur Stanley House, with upper storeys stepped back.

The total height of the new building will be 64m — just below the height limit for this site due to a protected view across central London.

“The application site is located within the wider setting of the strategic view from Parliament Hill to the Palace of Westminster (Strategic View 2A.2),” states the planning officer’s report.

“The site is located within the 65-70m height threshold area, and would reach a total height of just over 64m. It is therefore below the threshold and would not impact on this strategic view.”

Planning officer Laura Dorbeck told the committee that the existing late eighteenth century building is surrounded by other blocks of Georgian homes in the Charlotte Street conservation area.

It makes a “positive contribution to the Conservation Area”, states the planning report which said the demolition “is regrettable in design and heritage terms” because it “represents the proportions and design of historic 18th century development”.

However, Dorbeck said “it has been substantially altered and very poorly rebuilt” and “is not a true representation of the original building”.

She pointed out that the upvc windows have been fitted and the shop front is “a poor quality post-war rebuild” and there is modern brickwork around the windows.

She said there would be “some minor harm” to the street scene if the building is demolished.

Within the building there are currently four “substandard flats” which have no level access or amenity space and will be replaced with three one-bedroom homes and one four-bedroom flat above, and a ground floor workspace, she said.

Demolition also has to be justified in sustainability terms.

The applicant looked at keeping the building but it would have need alteration and could mean it would have to reduce the number of flats.

The new homes are sustainable and exceed carbon reduction targets, she said.

The Charlotte Street Conservation Area Advisory Committee had responded to the planning application saying that the building had “obvious links to the south side of the street which is original” and said preserving the building as a heritage asset should be given “great weight”.

They said the demolition was not justified “given the quality and associated public benefit of the replacement building” and felt there was no justification for the extra storeys above the accepted block height.

The applicant Flower Island (UK) Ltd had said the height of the new building on the street front “is largely inconspicuous in light of a number of gradually recessed set-backs. It would comprise of eleven storeys above a single storey basement across the whole of the site footprint”.

Dorbeck said the design was “well balanced and proportioned”.

Committee chair Heather Johnson said it was “an innovative” scheme for the narrow space in Tottenham Street.

The planning committee agreed to the scheme unanimously.

The permission is subject to a s106 agreement and has to be referred to the Mayor of London because it is over 30m high.

Camden Council Planning Committee 7pm Thursday 4 August 2022: 2020/3043/P, 52 Tottenham Street.