Fifth threat to deco heritage


Northview has survived another threat. The managing agents appealed to the government’s Planning Inspectorate to have the council's refusal of planning permission overturned – and their appeal was dismissed.

The planning inspector said the proposed scheme was “visually incongruous and top heavy” and that Northview was an “important undesignated heritage asset”.

See Northview news.


The most recent application to redevelop Northview was particularly hideous, similar to that proposed in 2009. It was refused by council officers in February.

“The whole extra storey is likely to appear cumbersome and even crude. It is unlikely that consent would be granted for an extra storey on a private house with such adverse effects all round” James Dunnett RIBA

“The impact of the new storey would be significant and would devastate the appearance and nature of the existing buildings and community of residents” Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North

Below are before and after pictures, plus our original objection document.

We produced an updated objection document, as parts of the application have changed although our objections were substantially the same.

Comments on our Preserve Northview petition can still be read at

Ugly, overbearing and aggressive

Northview existing, evening lightNorthview proposed, with shadow cast

Yet again, an ugly, crude scheme, which takes no account of Northview's unique design and heritage, has been proposed. None of the new flats will be affordable or accessible.

As the pictures show, an extra storey of standing seam zinc would overhwhelm homes and make this bright, welcoming enclave look gloomy and poky. Residents would lose natural light, especially the restful evening light that adds much to quality of life here. One resident expects to lose an hour and a half of direct sunlight a day.

Architects in the 1930s were very concerned with natural light, wishing to create homes far removed from dingy Victorian tenements. The proposed scheme will destroy Northview's light, airy feel.

The original buildings have delicate parapet detailing, gently curved bays and warm-coloured brick and render. Below is a close-up of standing seam zinc. A whole floor made of this harsh, ridged metal is proposed. This will look aggressive next to cosy, small-scale domestic architecture, and clash horribly with it. It is more appropriate for warehouses and industrial estates.

standing seam zinc

This act of architectural vandalism will mean a loss of some unique 1930s art deco heritage.


Northview Residents’ Association’s objections

The above is just one problem with the scheme proposed in application number P0121620.

Click on this sentence or the document below to download our latest objection document.

proposal to build hideous extra storey

The latest scheme:

  • is nearly identical in size, bulk and effect to the previous scheme rejected in September 2011
  • is overbearing, and will make the courtyard gloomy and feel hemmed in
  • uses cheerless swathes of zinc and dull glass balconies, unsympathetic materials that will detract from the visual amenity
  • is unsustainable in terms of environmental concerns as well as in providing homes that will last
  • will increase the size of the block by 38%, an effect exaggerated by a cumbersome design and ridges in the metal used
  • takes no account of its surroundings or setting, using materials more suited to an industrial estate than the delicate popular moderne 1930s architecture of Northview
  • will damage rare art deco banisters, which have survived intact throughout the estate
  • fails to meet space and sustainability standards
  • fails to address concerns around previous applications
  • takes no account of recent planning legislation
  • will reduce light to people's homes, using light studies based on discredited drawings from a previous application
  • uses value drawings with light colouring and a misleading, skewed perspective to make the scheme look less oppressive

Many of our objections to previous applications apply in this case.

This is the fifth attempt made to build on top of Northview. A resident of Tufnell Park Road has called it an attempt to gain consent “by attrition”.


Scheme ‘would not be viable’

Until now, no one has looked at whether it would be feasible to build an extra storey on top of Northview.

We have been extremely fortunate to have been given expert advice by Islington architect James Dunnett MA (Cantab) Dip Arch RIBA, co-chair of modern architecture body Docomomo-UK, on practicalities of adding an additional storey or mansard roof. He writes:

“It remains probably an impossible task satisfactorily to extend this small-scale building by a whole extra storey, representing an increase in height of nearly 38%. The ‘feel’ of the courtyard and the character of the architectural detail make this an impossibility.

“It is perhaps possible to imagine an extra mansard storey that was well set back behind the low existing parapets on both fronts and itself sloped well back so as not significantly to reduce the light reaching the courtyard or the feeling of sky there, but it would appear from the plan and section that such an extra storey would not be viable due to the narrow plan form of the existing building.

“I would therefore conclude that the small scale of the existing building and courtyard and the character of its architectural detail, make it impossible satisfactorily to add an extra storey to it, and consent should be refused.”

In addition, it is more than likely that there will be practical problems with building on top of Northview, given its structure, services and foundations, and the water running below it (see Living Over the Hackney Brook).


Plans continue, while Northview is left to rot

Time and money is going on these plans, while Northview is being left to deteriorate, despite criticism of our estate's management by the leasehold valuation tribunal in 2011. Click here to read what the leasehold valuation tribunal said. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has said the lack of maintenance is a concern.


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Home: Northview – a rare survivor of its time

Northview news

Northview’s architecture – an enclave with deco features

Living in a flat, 1930s style

A 1930s corner of Holloway – group value

Living over the Hackney Brook

It started with a Nissen hut … stop architectural vandalism

Buildings at risk – neglect at Northview

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