Heartbreak over station demolition as apartment supply emerges
What the new block of flats would look like
LESS than a year after the controversial demolition of a ‘lovely’ station master’s house, property developers have applied for permission to build new private apartments on the site.
The beloved Victorian building at 156 Junction Road, Tufnell Park was razed to the ground last summer, sparking debate over what could have been done to save it from the wrecking ball.
Adrian Betham of the Better Archway Forum (BAF) described the house as “lovely”, adding: “It was romantic Victorian railway architecture, a miniature villa, with a monkey puzzle tree in the front garden.”
A five-storey red brick building has now been offered to the Planning Czars of Islington Council as a replacement.
The new building would contain eight mainly two-bedroom apartments, with a view to possible development of the neighboring site “eventually”, according to the planning documents.
As the proposals would provide less than 10 units, the building is classed as a “minor development”, so developers would not have to include affordable housing in their plans.
Instead, they pledged to contribute £400,000 to the council for affordable housing elsewhere.
A company called Tufnell Park Investments LLP is behind the new project, with architect Amit Green of Cubitt Greystock named as the applicant.
Cubitt Greystock, which Mr Green runs alongside chartered surveyor Stephen Bellau, is a company which aims to ‘make the listed buildings of the future’.
At the time of demolition, planning documents show the house was demolished despite structural engineers finding the building safe and habitable.
The old station master’s house building, which was demolished last August
It didn’t have the protection of a listing, but BAF’s Kate Calvert said, “We don’t think there’s another building like this left.”
Quoting architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner, Ms Calvert said: ‘The history seen around you on the street speaks infinitely more than the history which must be sought in libraries and museums.’
According to Ms Calvert, “there were all sorts of stories” about the house, which was built before the 1890s and embodied the last remnants of the historic Junction Road railway station which closed in 1942. Ms Calvert said that the building had also been the home. to the driver of Dr. Richard Beeching.
“When you flip stuff like that, you lose the texture of a place,” she said.
Commenting on the replacement proposals, Ms Calvert said: ‘They are building mostly one and two bedroom apartments. There is an oversupply of these apartments – those looking to buy don’t want one or two bedroom apartments, the demand is for family homes.
Meanwhile, Ben Oakley of national heritage campaign charity SAVE Britain’s Heritage, which had campaigned to preserve the station master’s house, said: ‘We are disappointed that the claimant has chosen to demolish the building and apply for a building permit separately.
“We fought to protect and save the historic Victorian villa there, which was structurally sound and a rare survival of Islington’s history.”
Mr Green said: “This part of Junction Road has a diverse mix of different buildings and architectural styles. Our design is a simple and robust adaptation of the traditional design heritage of Tufnell Park housing styles.
“We believe that our design responds appropriately to its context and will be a positive addition, providing an urban heritage of our times that future generations will cherish – this is our aim for every development we do.”
He added: “Prior to the removal of the building, all required processes and procedures were followed, all appropriate steps were taken to consult with affected parties, including Historic England.
“The site is a cleared plot of land adjacent to a derelict taxi stand – both plots are in need of regeneration. We have taken great care to develop a proposal that the community will be proud of and which we believe meets the various requirements of Islington’s development plan.