Please see below for a project update that was circulated to neighbours on the 25th July 2022.

Dear Neighbour,

I am writing with an update regarding Essential Living’s development at 100 Avenue Road, above Swiss Cottage Underground Station.

Following an 18-month period of main construction works being paused on site, I am very pleased to let you know that we have this week informed Camden Council that we will be re-engaging with our contractor and seeking to resume the build. The contractor will need a few months to remobilise for the works and, all going well, we anticipate construction starting again mid-2023.

By way of background, Essential Living paused construction at the site in early 2021, having completed the below ground works in August 2020. Our decision was driven in part by the pandemic and the wider economic circumstances we and others in the development sector were facing at the time. When the project was paused, the 2016 consented scheme was financially unviable, with rents falling and construction costs rising rapidly. At that time, the consent was 5 years old, and many things had changed in the intervening period, including the cost and availability of materials and labour.

In January 2021, we sought to address some of the viability issues by applying to the Council to revisit the quantum of affordable housing within the consented scheme but this application, along with an application seeking approval for the range of external façade materials, was refused by Camden Council. Both were Appealed, with the former being refused after an Appeal in January 2022 and the latter being approved in May 2022.

As a Build to Rent developer who is also an operator and long-term investor in its sites, Essential Living has the opportunity to take a more holistic and longer-term view on its investments. Although a normal commercial return will still not be achievable in the short to medium term at 100 Avenue Road, we have decided to press ahead with construction of the approved scheme.

Essential Living’s new development at 100 Avenue Road will bring a range of benefits to the area including:

  • 184 new homes of which 54 will be affordable – of these:
    • 3 will be shared ownership
    • 5 will be intermediate rent (above social rental levels but below market rental levels)
    • 28 homes will be rented at a council-determined affordable rent
    • 18 homes will be provided at a discount market rent for a minimum period of 15 years
  • A new community space for local Camden children’s charity, the Winch
  • High-quality landscaping

Essential Living will restart the Construction Working Group meetings, once construction is underway.

We are fully committed to remobilising in order to move the project forward, securing the long-term future of the site, and making a positive and sustainable contribution to local life in Swiss Cottage as soon as possible.

Yours Sincerely,

Camilla Lesser
Development Manager