Brixton tower ‘could set precedent for more’

architectural CGI
The tower would dominate Electric Avenue, the Victorian Society warns

The Victorian Society has warned that Lambeth council’s agreement to the construction of a 20-storey tower next to Brixton’s conservation area could set a precedent for more tall buildings that would “completely erode” the special character of Brixton.

“Our objection to the development highlights two causes for concern,” said the society.

“First, the towering height of the development, which would overshadow nearby historic buildings; and second, the danger of this scheme setting a precedent for further tall buildings in the area.

“Over time this would completely erode Brixton’s special character.”

Olivia Stockdale, conservation advisor for the Victorian Society, a charity dedicated to championing Victorian and Edwardian buildings, said: “This area of Brixton has avoided the intensive development which has blighted many of London’s historic urban centres.

“It therefore retains its character as a predominantly Victorian town centre.

“Plans to construct a building of 20 storeys next to this conservation area demonstrate a total failure to understand and respond to the context of the area. 

“Whilst buildings of this height may be appropriate elsewhere in London, this is clearly not a location where this applies.

“The proposed tower would overshadow the surrounding buildings, including the historic Electric Avenue which, when built in the 1880s, was the first market street lit by electric lights.”

Joe O’Donnell, director of the society, said: “This is an opportunity to respond to what is wanted by the local community.

“If a huge office tower block was ever really needed or viable in Brixton, it’s commercial future seems now seems doubtful as it is unclear whether London will ever return to previous levels of office demand in a post COVID-19 world of home working.”

He said the society had joined other campaigners in calling on London mayor Sadiq Khan to stop the tower. A petition to the mayor has nearly 1,000 signatures.

Lambeth council’s planning sub-committee approved the plans for a development including the tower on Pope’s Road and Brixton Station Road in November. The application was by the Amsterdam-based company AG Hondo Pope’s Road BV, which does not own the site.

Nearly 8,000 people have now signed a petition against the tower, and campaigners are raising funds for possible legal challenges with £1,850 of a target £3,500 raised so far,