A billionaire Texan DJ’s plans to build a 20-story tower block in the heart of Brixton, a low-slung neighborhood in the south of London, is under question as Mayor Sadiq Kahn reconsiders its effect on the local community.
Due to public outcry, Kahn is reportedly now reviewing the Adjaye Associates-designed scheme. The 20-story office building would sit adjacent to a conservation area in the heart of Brixton and would overshadow the celebrated Brixton institution that is Electric Avenue.
Taylor McWilliams, who heads Hondo Enterprises, the property investment company that owns Brixton market claims, that the scheme will create 2,000 jobs and generate $3.84 million yearly for the local economy. The local community however have met these plans with fierce opposition, citing a post-COVID future, where office workers are more likely to work from home as at the very least: An economic deterrent from this development which they see as detrimental to the locale. The tower would hold retail at the base as an extension of the market, with offices up top.
This isn’t the first time that McWilliams has attracted local ire; his decision to serve notice on the vastly popular Nour Cash & Carry was also met with resistance from the community and celebrities alike which resulted in the Cash and Carry’s move to a nearby site.
Taylor’s tower was approved by Lambeth Council, the local authority, on November 3, 2020, despite an 8000-signature strong petition in direct opposition. Olivia Stockdale, a conservation adviser for the Victoria Society stated that: “The plans to construct a building of 20 storeys next to this conservation area demonstrates a total failure to understand and respond to the context of the area.”
Joe O’Donnell, the director of the Victorian Society, called on the Mayor to review his position lest he creates a dangerous precedent that would condemn several historic centers around the British capital to the blight of overdevelopment, that would without doubt forever alter their character.