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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Architect is ordered to DEMOLISH his award-winning £4.65milion home two years after it was built - because the council says it doesn't match his original plans

  • Leading architect Amin Taha has been ordered to tear down office and flat block
  • Building has won two awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  • Islington Council said property doesn't reflect plans which were approved 2013
A leading architect has been ordered to demolish his award-winning home despite being granted permission for the project five years ago.
Amin Taha was granted permission in 2013 to transform the 1950s building in east London's trendy Clerkenwell into a plush six-storey office and apartment block.
Situated on the site of an 11th century Norman Abbey and in the shadow of the Grade I-listed St James Church, the property comprises a two-storey office and eight flats, including a penthouse for him and his family.
But Mr Taha, who recently became a father, has now been ordered to demolish the property by Islington Council, which claims the building is no longer in keeping with the original plans. Amin Taha was granted permission to transform the 1950s building in east London 's trendy Clerkenwell into a plush six-storey office and apartment block
Amin Taha was granted permission to transform the 1950s building in east London 's trendy Clerkenwell into a plush six-storey office and apartment block
Islington Council claims the building is no longer in keeping with the original plans
Islington Council claims the building is no longer in keeping with the original plans
Born in Berlin to Iraqi and Sudanese parents, Mr Taha moved to Southend-on-Sea aged seven and went on to study at the University of Edinburgh. 
He bought the original 1950s property some seven years ago before he was granted permission in 2013 to knock it down and build in its place the six-storey limestone structure.
He lives on the top floor of the building with his wife Sarah and 15-month-old son Sacha. 
Hailed an 'architectural triumph' by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the £4.65million project has won two awards. 
RIBA describes the property as 'A brave, ambitious, highly innovative and bespoke, where risks have been taken and have paid off, resulting in a truly imaginative, intriguing and astonishing work of architecture.'
But Mr Taha is now waged in a bitter war with councillors who served an enforcement notice in June last year, claiming the materials, design and height of the building were not in keeping with the original plans.
The council issued a second enforcement notice in February which said the building's 'design and location' was 'harming the character and appearance of the local area'.
Councillor Martin Klute, vice-chairman of Islington's planning committee, said he was 'extremely upset' with the 'horrible' building.
The council would not specify how the building has breached planning permission.Mr Taha bought the original 1950s property some seven years ago before he was granted permission to knock it down and built in its place the six-storey limestone structure
Mr Taha bought the original 1950s property some seven years ago before he was granted permission to knock it down and built in its place the six-storey limestone structure
These drawings submitted in 2013 show the facade of the east London property
These drawings submitted in 2013 show the facade of the east London property
Original plans submitted in 2012 show the ground floor of the property 
Original plans submitted in 2012 show the ground floor of the property 
Cllr Klute said at a meeting in June last year: 'The problem he's got is that the building looks nothing like the approved drawings, and the stonework on the front actually protrudes beyond the building line. It's not within the boundaries he applied for.
'And the building is actually a storey-and-a-half higher than the drawings showed. 
'We are extremely upset he's built it higher than what he'd made it look like. It's extraordinary. 
'The building just looks so unlike the drawings the council got. It's hard to believe how it could be built like that. Design is a matter of taste but I've not met anyone who has said it's an appropriate design next to a grade I-listed church. The building is awful.'
The flats inside the property have been furnished to a modern standard 
The flats inside the property have been furnished to a modern standard 
The living quarters inside the property in Clerkenwell - the building comprises eight flats in total
The living quarters inside the property in Clerkenwell - the building comprises eight flats in total
An Islington Council spokesperson said: 'After an investigation, the council has come to the view that the building at 15 Clerkenwell Close does not reflect the building that was granted planning permission and conservation area consent in 2013.
'In the council's view, the existing building does not benefit from planning permission, and the council issued an enforcement notice on 26 February 2018, to take effect on 9 April 2018.
'The owners of the site appealed that enforcement notice on 6 April 2018, and the case will now be handled by the Planning Inspectorate.'


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