Swains Lane parade finally ready for ‘facelift’ as wrecking ball team waits to move in
Hoardings are due to go up in next fortnight ahead of demolition work
20 January, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
The development’s progress was discussed at St Anne’s Church on Monday
THE Highgate shopping parade that has had the wrecker’s ball hanging over it for more than a decade is a step closer to being turned into rubble.
Owners Noble House, who bought the row of shops from the Earl of Listowel in Swains Lane last year, unveiled a construction management plan this week to neighbours and civic groups and revealed a long-awaited redevelopment project would start in earnest within weeks.
Hoardings are due to go up around the site by the end of January, preparatory work has already taken place on the site, with all shops moving out, and at the meeting at St Anne’s Church on Monday they showed the finer details of how they would manage the demolition of the 1930s-built terrace and replace it with eight new shops and 12 houses.
The meeting had a display of technical drawings provided by architects Tasou Associates, which included a preview of how they plan to widen pavements at the junction of Highgate West Hill and Swains Lane, plant new trees and provide an area that could be used by a new café for seating.
The meeting heard neighbours had called for a rethink about how construction traffic would reach the site.
Highgate ward Green councillor Sian Berry urged Noble House to rethink using Highgate West Hill and Swains Lane into Chester Road to remove spoil from the site, and also reconsider the size of trucks they were planning.
Noble House have agreed to use the wider Highgate Road route and will limit the size of lorries they use. They have also agreed not to have lorries deliver or take away material at the time of day when local schools end.
Cllr Berry added: “They had planned to take lorries up Swains Lane and into Chester Road, which has a tight corner by Brookfield School. I am pleased to say they have agreed they will not use this route.”
The meeting heard that demolition will take four weeks, while there will be a further public meeting to discuss changes being considered to the colour of bricks being used. A retail forum, made up of people who worked on the Save Swains Lane campaign, will begin to look for tenants for the eight retail units that will be advertised as work progresses. The scheme will take up to 20 months in total, the developers added. Cllr Berry said: “Given the effort the former owner, the Earl of Listowel, and people in the area put into making sure a decent plan materialised, it has been very frustrating to see the shops closed and left empty.
“There is an air of confidence in the new owners as they appear to be honouring the planning permission granted. They have promised regular meetings and they will be looking at leases for independent shops
Other concessions made by the developers include agreeing to stop all work onsite by 5pm, instead of the 6pm curfew that is allowed under law.
Noble House director Alex Oliver said: “We are very happy with the progress made during the construction management plan consultation and believe we have managed the community concerns where possible.
“I have personally spent a lot of time meeting local residents over the last few weeks and we are delighted that the project is making progress.
“It’s an exciting scheme that we believe will enhance the location and bring a much-needed facelift to the current run-down buildings.”