Colliers Wood Tower Discussed By MPs

Landmark building being "left to rot"

The unpopular Colliers Wood Tower once dubbed the 'most hated building in London' is being left to rot by owners who have no serious intentions for it, according to the local MP.

Siobhain McDonagh raised the issue of the 17-storey landmark Brown and Root Tower during a debate in the House of Commons, following an earlier protest outside the West End offices of the owner.

Planning permission had been granted to turn the 1960s block into 200 modern flats in 2005, with the site also including a library, police office and shops.

But, as Ms McDonagh told the Commons, the granting of the planning permission put the value of the site up and owners Golfrate then refused to sell to the developers who put the scheme together.

She said: "Since the owners bought the tower more than 10 years ago, it has become increasingly rundown. All the tenants gradually moved out, until two years ago it was empty. The tower is now empty, dilapidated and unsafe. Green nets surround the building to prevent crumbling concrete from falling on people below.

"Last April work started on knocking down the unsightly and dangerous multi-storey car park, until the demolition firm discovered that the area's electricity substation was on the site. Realising the danger, the firm stopped, leaving us with a quarter-demolished car park surrounded by building rubble that in most areas would become missiles.

"It is hard to underestimate the blight. People talk about the broken window syndrome, which can bring an area down and increase crime and the fear of crime, but we have it in spades.

"Since buying the site, they have let it get into a worse and worse condition while the values go up and up. Is it right that communities like ours should suffer as a result of companies like Golfrate land-banking in this way?"

A Colliers Wood Tower Action Group has been set up on Facebook and members of the group went with Ms McDonagh to protest at the offices of Golfrate owner Asif Aziz.

The group wants the building repaired so it is safe, and the back ugly exterior re-cladded in order to make it look better. They also want the rest of the car park knocked down and the building converted into flats in line with the planning approval that was granted nearly six years ago.

In 2006 the tower was voted London's most hated building in a BBC poll. In 2005, a Channel 4  series called "Demolition" put it in its shortlist of 12 buildings to be demolished. But it cannot actually be demolished as the costs are prohibitive because the Northern line would have to be shut and the A24 diverted.

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January 28, 2011