This is what will rise from the ruin of the late public convenience, assuming the Council's planning committee gives the go-ahead next month. The architect is Claridge (I trust they don't mind my reproducing their image) and the development of the site would be a joint enterprise involving Ali Demirbag of IDP International Properties Ltd and Temel Alp, who owns Fairdeal Foods and bought the site a few years ago. You can see details of Mr Alp's application via here, including this report from Claridge which provides a lot of useful insights into the thinking behind the design.
Marcus Claridge and Mssrs Alp and Demirbag held a public consultation at Organic and Natural yesterday morning (there was one on Saturday too). Four fellow locals showed up during the hour that I was there. One was broadly in favour of the plan, not least because the site has lain unused for so long. Another objected to the size and density of the proposed building - the design is for nine residential units (2 x 1-bed, 5 x 2-bed, 2 x 3-bed) with commercial floorspace at ground and basement level - and expressed concern that the balconies would become eyesores, with people hanging their washing out to dry there. Someone else said she'd have preferred something like a cafe for community use, and a woman who saw the plans on display outside came in to express her dismay over something she regarded as quite unsuited to the area where she had lived for many years.
What do you think? I'm a bit worried by the size of it, though I accept that the economics of such projects create pressure for the maximum amount of units be created in the available space. I also recognise a general need for increased housing density if London as a whole is to accommodate its fast-growing population in the years to come. I listened with interest to Mr Demirbag explaining that although the application says the ground floor would be for commercial use he and Mr Alp intend to let it for the first years at a subsidised rate to a local dance instructor, who was also present at the meeting. They feel that this would be doing something for the community.
It's interesting to speculate about who might live in the building if and when it is finished. Mr Demirbag, who also works in health, said he and his partners would be looking to rent the flats rather than sell them. He explained that he has an office in the City and therefore knows that many people working there are looking for places to rent not far away that aren't prohibitively expensive. I can't help but reflect that the overwhelming housing need in the capital is for genuinely affordable homes for Londoners on low and lower-middle incomes, but that's really a whole other story about government policy and the lunacy of the capital's housing market. Where the "former toilet" is concerned, we are where we are. Your considered views are, as ever, welcome.