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Much of Crouch End is in a conservation area, i.e. an area most aspects of which deserve to be conserved so that there are restrictions on the demolition of structures within that area.
7.14 To the north of No. 16 is the Earl Haig Memorial Hall, a British Legion Club built to the designs of A. C. Shearing. This single storey red brick symmetrically arranged building has a front elevation with a central recessed section dominated by a tall stepped gable with stone copings and central round headed panel inscribed ‘1929’ and a stone keyed oculus window. The flat roofed side wings have stone copings at the same level as the stone banding of the central section that is inscribed ‘EARL HAIG MEMORIAL’. The building is considered to make a positive contribution to the conservation area.
The Crouch End Conservation Area Advisory Committee has submitted the following objection to the proposed demolition of the building
HGY/2012/1898 Earl Haig Memorial Hall Elder Avenue London N8 9TH Mr Francis JonesCity and Westminster Developments Ltd103 , Kilburn Lane, London, W10 4AN Mr Pravin PatelPPML Consulting Ltd, Kinetic Centre, Theobald Street, Elstree, WD6 4 PJ Demolition of existing building and redevelopment to provide no. 4 new houses, with associated garages.
Object - Inappropriate and premature redevelopment proposal.
This building in the adopted appraisal for the Crouch End Conservation Area appraisal is noted as a building of character. The developers, of course take a different view because they want to be rid of it as they see a development opportunity.
Conservation means save / cherish / re use adapt, but most of all there it a presumption to retain original fabric or later additions to an area that tell a story of how an area evolves or changes over time. Whilst there are provisions to remove damaging buildings in a conservation area, these will have been identified as buildings that detract from the area in an appraisal. This is the opposite and is a symbol of the outpouring of communal grief after the horrors of the First World war.
When a building contributes to the area, the presumption is to keep it and re-use it. The best use is akin to its original use, but if that is not viable, then the next best thing is to convert it so it can remain viable. Just because it is empty and the original owner can not afford to run it any more does not make it automatically a target for redevelopment for modern housing.
Even if it were to reach such a state, the proposed replacement building is out of character with the established character of Elder Avenue. It also damages the setting of the listed Queen's Head PH that needs the space behind it to set it off
Thus, the acid test has to be first asked, "Has the existing structure exhausted all options to re use it?" The answer is no. Even if it had, the second question that would have to be asked is "Does the replacement building contribute as much or more to the character of the street as the existing structure. Again the answer is no.
The consent to demolish should not be given unless and until a proposal for replacement does as much for the historic character of the area than the existing, and preferably more. If this were to be a housing use, then it would probably have to be a learned replica of others in the street, or a very clever new insertion. The present proposal with its regular window sizes in three storeye'd, gabled bays does not do this. Thus it is not a good enough replacement. The overarching issue is, however, whether the existing structure is capable of a new use. The recent granting of a licence suggests that it may have a new career, so this is not the end of the possible re-use story, so using the precautionary principle, it would be premature on the re use and replacement ground to let the present building go.
Planning permission and conservation area consent should therefore be refused.
HGY/2012/1897 Earl Haig Memorial Hall Elder Avenue London N8 9TH Mr Francis JonesCity and Westminster Developments Ltd Kilburn Lane, London, W10 4AN Mr Pravin Patel PPML Consulting Ltd, Kinetic Centre, Theobald Street, Elstree, Hertfordshire, WD6 4 PJ Conservation Area Consent for demolition of existing building and redevelopment to provide 4 new houses with associated garages.
Object - As above