Jaideep Chakrabarti comments on the buildings in the Green Lane Conservation Area
Mr. Chakrabarti is a practising architect specialising in historic architecture and has been involved with many iconic buildings including St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Temple Bar in Paternoster Square and fire restoration project in Windsor Castle. He has lived in Venice on a State Scholarship and read Buildings Conservation at King’s Manor, York. He is on the RIBA Register of Specialist Conservation Architect.
The proposed development involves demolition of up to 20 properties which are part of the Northwood Conservation Area (designation year 2009). As such these buildings collectively contribute towards the character of the high street and station approach.
By definition, “A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which is desirable to preserve or enhance.” The appraisal paper by the Hillingdon Borough Council – Northwood town centre, Green Lane conservation area, November 2009 highlights the reason for the designation and I quote,
“Today, Green Lane is an important commercial centre and transport interchange. Most of the buildings within the conservation area are of a high quality design and include a variety of different architectural styles, such as Arts and Crafts, Neo Classical and 1930s Art Deco, all with very good decorative features. There are a number of traditional shop fronts remaining within the area, some particularly fine bank buildings and a striking three storey former post office with stone detailing and glazed bricks to the street frontage.”
The demolition of these buildings thus undermines the Council’s own reasons and evaluation of our heritage assets. Furthermore, the character of the Northwood town centre is arguably one of the best preserved early C20 developments linked to railway expansions of the period. The loss of the character will not be limited to Northwood but to a period of development and expansion of the city of London itself.