Gospel Beech


Why is this magnificent copper beech tree boxed in with green painted hoarding? It is because in 2015 Camden Council granted itself permission to develop the area under the tree as a house, with the intention of selling it off to the highest bidder.

This is the tree before the hoarding was erected.

The picture above shows the shape of the house proposed by Camden. This would kill or seriously harm the tree. Branches would need to be cut off to make space for the house. Ironically the planners made the planning permission conditional on protecting the tree.

The architect seems to ignore the tree, showing it as a cloud of dots. Both the planners and architect are in denial about the reality of the tree.

This small piece of land is part of Barrington Court estate, designed by Powell and Moya in 1952-54 as a mixed group of three terraces of two storey houses and a ten storey block of flats. Three small bits of land at the end of each of the terraces were left as open space for trees.

Barrington Court estate, built in 1954, with Kiln Place in the foreground

The trees planted as part of the original development have now matured and provide pleasure and ecosystem services to the neighbourhood. Camden Council are willing to jeopardise this.

In 2018, when planning permission for the development was about to expire, the Council erected hoardings around all three end-of-terrace sites. This was an attempt to protect the ‘asset’, ie. to preserve the ability to develop the sites, offset the expenditure on professional fees already spent and hopefully make a profit. However the development never made any financial sense and was a misguided and expensive mistake. According to local residents, the works carried out on the sites do qualify as ‘commencement of development’. It is hoped that Camden Council will cut their losses, take down the hoardings and leave Barrington Court estate as it is.


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