Councillors set to kick Tavi Place decision down the road

Marchmont Voice


Camden councillors look likely to defer a final decision on the Tavistock/Torrington Place traffic scheme at Wednesday night’s long awaited Cabinet session. The papers for the meeting contain a recommendation that the consultation findings should first go to a formal Public Inquiry which would “further examine the merits of the scheme”. This is likely to delay the decision for up to another six months and could cost the Council as much as £100,000. Opponents of the plans will see this as a final chance to state their case, with those in favour hoping it is just a final hurdle to clear.

It’s understood that the recommendation for a public inquiry is the consequence of an administative oversight by planning officers when the trial was set up in autumn 2015. At that time the necessary copy of the experimental traffic order was not lodged at the Town Hall. This would have left…

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Consultation with local police

The Camden Safer Neighbourhood Board have announced some forthcoming dates for consultations about neighbourhood policing. At the end of February, the Met will be merging Camden and Islington Police. On Thursday 26 January, there is an opportunity for local residents to meet the new joint Borough Commander, Detective Chief Inspector Catherine Roper, at 7pm in the Council Chamber at Camden Town Hall to find out how the merger will affect policing in our neighbourhood and ask any questions you have.

If you would like to contribute your views in response to the Mayor of London’s consultation on his draft Policing Plan, there will be a meeting to discuss this on Thursday 23 February. You can see the draft plans here.

Then on Thursday 23 March, there will be a meeting in Chalk Farm about whether initiatives to reduce noise and antisocial behaviour linked to Camden’s booming night-life have made an improvements.

Full details are in this CSNB newsletter.


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New date for BTRA meeting


All tenants and residents at the Brunswick are invited to the next meeting of the Brunswick Tenants’ and Residents’ Association (BTRA), which will now be held on Thursday 16 February at 7pm in the TRA room at 10 Foundling Court (on the second floor, reached from entrance 1, nearest to Russell Square tube). The meeting has had to be postponed from its original date in January, due to the long-awaited refurbishment of the TRA room.

Come along to hear the latest about the restarting of the podium works, beginning with the larger podium of O’Donnell Court, among other matters.

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Meeting about Tavistock Place cycle route

A reminder that the Marchmont Association has organised a public meeting to allow local people to have their say about Camden Council’s proposed improvements for walking and cycling along theTorrington Place/Tavistock Place route. The meeting will be held on Monday 19th September from 7pm (doors open 6.45pm) at Lumen Church, 88 Tavistock Place, WC1H 9RS (close to Regent Square).


The Council’s Transport Planners have been asked to present their proposals for “Torrington Place/Tavistock Place route: proposed improvements for walking and cycling”, based on the outcome of their analysis of the one-year trial scheme, which ends in November 2016. This will be followed by Questions and Answers, before the meeting is opened up for debate.

Camden Council will have distributed their formal consultation documents prior to this meeting, giving interested parties prior notice of the proposals, which will enable them to come to the meeting with their prepared questions. Everyone will be given the opportunity to speak and we will be asking speakers to declare their interest, e.g. resident, business, cyclist, motorist, pedestrian etc.

The Marchmont Association intend to hold a ‘straw poll’ at the end of the meeting in order to gauge the level of support or opposition to the proposals.

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Bloomsbury Squares Study Day

Bloomsbury Square in the C18th from

Bloomsbury Square in the C18th from

2016 is a landmark in the story of the Bloomsbury Squares, as they face serious council cuts and explore possible new ways of finance. This Study Day will trace the history of the squares, from their creation as country oases in an urban setting, through their prominent role in the early heritage conservation movement and the postwar opening of many to the public, followed by decline and then reinvigoration at the millennium, to the current situation. We are including a number of short walks to view individual features of the squares as part of the programme.

 Venue:  UCL School of Pharmacy, Brunswick Square, London (Nearest underground stations are Russell Square, Kings Cross/St Pancras, Euston and  Holborn)

Booking through Eventbrite from 1 March 2016: Tickets (incl. lunch and refreshments) £32

Programme includes:

The London Square by Todd Longstaffe-GowanThe history, development and conservation of the Bloomsbury Squares Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Landscape architect and author of The London Square

Green Heritage – the planting of the Bloomsbury Squares Letta Jones, Garden Historian

Tales of Brunswick Square – its life and times Ricci de Freitas local historian and author of Tales of Brunswick Square, Bloomsbury’s Untold Past

Opening the Squares to public activities – including Victorian flower shows Dr David Marsh, Garden Historian

Looking to the future  The challenges of the present and opportunities for the future will be explored

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Comment now on plans to change Brunswick Square

Consultation ends on Sunday about changing the traffic management around Brunswick Square and altering the look of the listed square itself. The changes are far-reaching -the roundabout is to be removed and many more trees will be planted  outside the garden square itself. If you haven’t already done so, please look at the plans and have your say.

The plans (with artists’impressions) can be seen on the Camden website:

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Patrick Hodgkinson (1930-2016)

It is with great sadness that we record that Patrick Hodgkinson, the architect of the Brunswick, has died aged 85. He died in his sleep on Feb 20th after a long illness. He last visited the building to be interviewed for a film about it made by a group of young film makers. He had previously opened the refurbished Tenants’ and Residents’ room when the major refurbishment carried out by Allied London was finished in 2006.

Patrick HodgkinsonPatrick Hodgkinson was, in the 1960’s, one of England’s most successful and influential architects, running a practice from his large house in Bayswater and driving a dark blue drophead Aston Martin. At that time he was the architect for the redevelopment of the Foundling Estate – which was to become the Brunswick Centre – having acquired the commission when he was working with Leslie Martin in Cambridge and during which time he designed Harvey Court, transforming an initial scheme by Martin and Colin St. John Wilson into the canonical brick stepped section, a building and partis that exercised a considerable influence on a whole generation of architects and students and which was described by a young Cedric Price in Granta as a C14 building with 13 amp plugs, much to Patrick’s enjoyment.

He also had considerable influence on the design of the Oxford Law Libraries. Martin had heard of this talented student possibly via Alvar Aalto in whose office Hodgkinson had worked in 1956 before graduating from the Architectural Association, but more likely via Wilson scouting for talented young architects. In Harvey Court he demonstrated his ability to fuse rationalist principles with Aalto’s profound humanism. Originally asked to become involved in a housing project for the London Borough of St. Pancras he became a central figure in the Martin Studio. When that project failed to proceed he continued to flourish under Martin’s benign aegis but regrettably developing a lifelong rivalry with Wilson.

Hodgkinson was one of an extraordinary group of students at the AA comprising Kenneth Frampton, John Miller, David Gray, Adrian Gale and Neave Brown. Brown has said that he was ‘the most prescient of his AA cohort’, for Frampton ‘the most talented’ and for Miller ‘he stood out as a star’. His 1953 Brixton Housing Project developed ideas in contradistinction to the then current LCC fashion for mixed development – inspired by Le Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse and Unité in Marseilles. He explored the ideas of low rise high density in an attempt to renew the city in a more English way, building on the precedent of the Georgian terrace, enriched with a sectional complexity and providing a direct relationship to the ground and thereby the street. These were ideas subsequently developed by Martin and colleagues in the Land Use Built Form Centre in Cambridge.

His relationship with the Brunswick Centre came to an end when McAlpines, who had bought the site from the original developer, imposed an unrealistic programme for the working drawings and he felt he had no alternative but to resign. There then followed a very difficult time when a major commission in Oxford – Wellington Square – foundered, he was tutoring at the AA with David Shalev (when David Chipperfield was one of his students) but he failed to land the deanship of Cornell and his second marriage was in trouble. Salvation of a kind presented itself in securing a teaching post at the University of Bath where he established himself, carving out a role as a passionate and inspired teacher. His illustrated talks on Utzon, Aalto and Mount Athos are still vivid in my mind from the early 1990s when I got to know him while teaching there.

And it was in this mode that his teaching career came to a close around 1995. Still combative he saw off attempts by other architects to alter and/or extend the Brunswick until Allied London had the inspired idea to appoint him as architect for the refurbishment in the late 1990s. Assisted by Levitt Bernstein under the guidance of his old assistant David Levitt, he masterminded a transformation of the then unloved and unpainted SS Brunswick into a more intimately scaled and lively shopping concourse with Waitrose at its northern end and the previously utilitarian southern entrance transformed, with Carluccios and French Connection replacing the ramps for service vehicles. It meant that the long period in the wilderness, during which he never doubted the good sense and architectural and urbanistic value of ‘his bit of Bloomsbury’, was rewarded by Mike Ingall of Allied London’s faith in him.

I have lived in this building for over twenty years and grown to appreciate what an extraordinary achievement it is. Few architects can boast of anything comparable. As Alan Powers wrote some years ago about the portico to Brunswick Square, “Against the evening light, or on a winter’s evening, the tall thin columns standing out against the chiaroscuro background provide one of the few genuinely sublime architectural sights of London. “

Brendan Woods, 04/03/16

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