London

Mount Pleasant: Mayor gives go-ahead for development

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Media captionCamden and Islington councils both recommended rejecting the plan.

Proposals to redevelop London's Mount Pleasant sorting office have been given the go-ahead by mayor Boris Johnson.

Planning permission has been given for 681 homes on part of the Royal Mail site - despite criticism over a lack of affordable housing.

Mount Pleasant - on the Islington/Camden border - will be one of the largest development sites in central London.

Camden and Islington councils both recommended rejecting the plan.

Mr Johnson said: "Building new homes is absolutely crucial and by working closely with the local authorities and Royal Mail we have been able to bring forward a scheme that had been in serious danger of stalling, while doubling the amount of affordable homes."

'Wrong for London'

The mayor's office said 163 homes will be affordable, of which 98 will be for rent and 65 will be shared ownership. Shops, offices, restaurants and a public space will be included on half of the site.

But Councillor James Murray, from Islington Council, said an opportunity to build hundreds of "genuinely affordable homes for local people" had been missed.

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Image caption The development will include shops, offices, restaurants and public space

"Today's decision means that Londoners are missing out, whilst investors in luxury flats and Royal Mail shares are benefitting. This decision is wrong for London," he said.

During Friday's planning hearing at City Hall, Councillor Phil Jones of Camden Council said he was "extremely concerned that there is a distinct lack of clarity about how genuinely affordable these homes will be."

Royal Mail Group Property Director Martin Gafsen said: "This is a great opportunity for us to contribute to the regeneration of the area around our iconic mail centre building."

The remaining half of the Mount Pleasant site will continue to be a postal sorting office, employing up to 3,200 people.

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