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Camden New Journal - by SIMON WROE
Published: 6 March 2008
An artist-generated view of how the 'Noho Square' building, left, might look from street level
An artist-generated view of how the ‘Noho Square’ building, left, might look from street level
Look out Fitzrovia, here comes Noho

Petition launched amid fears that flats’ name is first step towards ‘superficial’ rebranding

YOU won’t find the name on any map, and most residents in the area would sooner admit to living in Narnia, but Fitzrovia may soon be known as “Noho”.
Until recently only estate agents used the term, yet all that may change with the much-touted development of Noho Square by property tycoon brothers Nicholas and Christian Candy.
The former Middlesex Hospital, soon to be the Candy brothers’ “Noho” apartment building, was one of the landmarks of Fitzrovia, which includes Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square and the Telecom Tower.
Those living near the development, including comedian Griff Rhys Jones, restaurant critic Fay Maschler and gallery owner and Bloomsbury ward councillor Rebecca Hossack have poured scorn on what they see as a “superficial” attempt to rebrand the area north of Oxford Street and south of Euston Road.
Mr Rhys Jones said: “This area is one of the most attractive mixes I know. Unfortunately, [Noho] signifies the desire to be seen as north Soho and this area doesn’t want to become a binge-drinking mecca.”
He added: “I hope no one will be influenced by the name. It’s not going to creep into my common parlance and some of my parlance is pretty common.”
Ms Maschler agreed: “Noho is such an unpleasant word, so negative. You can’t just suddenly come up with a new name and expect people to embrace it. I think it’s a no-hoper.”
For Cllr Hossack, Noho means nowhere. “It’s a meaningless word, which has nothing to do with community,” she said. “It’s like putting a big white paint brush over something that’s incredibly delicate and has been very delicately woven together over hundreds of years.
“It drives a wedge between the community and the mirage of “lifestyle”. It’s so trendy, and so superficial. It implies a transitory lifestyle. But there are people who’ve been here for generations.”
She has written to Westminster Council and property developer Candy and Candy. A petition to “say ‘no’ to Noho” has been launched.
But the Candy brothers – tax-exile millionaires who in just eight years have turned a £6,000 stake in a London flat into a property empire worth billions – defended the “Noho” name this week.
“We did not dream this name up on a whim, nor did we reach a decision overnight,” said Nick Candy.
After extensive research, he said the development firm had “chosen not to hark back to an historic name for the site since the scheme is an example of contemporary, urban regeneration”. He added: “While we would always prefer to ensure our neighbours are happy, we are aware it will not be possible to please everyone.”
And, to make the area’s identity crisis even worse, a stone’s throw away in Charlotte Street, developer Derwent London is building rival apartments. The name? Fitzrovia Village, of course.

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Your comments:

Having nursed at The Middlesex Hospital in 1969/72 on AnnieZunz.. I was so shocked when i saw it flattened the other day, and all the memories of my life there came flooding back... I feel strongly that the new square should be chosen by someone with a past
attachment to what was a wonderful hospital ~ maybe with reference to the Hospital itself not the area. I am hoping to be able to buy a property here too!!!
C. Watts


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