King's Cross – catch-up

There have been some events at King’s Cross, though not a lot. Within the Railway Lands (Argent site / King’s Cross Central) all the office development still seems to be stalled by the crisis, though Argent have secured approval of details (‘reserved matters’) so they could be ready to build some offices if any tenant signs a lease. Actual construction is paradoxically under way just for the elements which are funded or underwritten by public money: social housing, intermediate and special needs housing, the University of the Arts.  (The paradox / irony is that we had been so afraid that commercial pressures would delay the social housing until last.) Permission is being sought for a privately developed student housing block on York Way. Argent have rather rashly departed from their outline permission (thus opening up the possibility of a refusal) by changing to a 27 storey design which is antagonising many people.

The King’s Cross Development Forum, which Camden shockingly tried to close down once Argent’s permission was in the bag, is alive and well and it’s web site is the main place for debate on these applications.

In a rather bizarre move, Camden Council are rushing through a sort of local plan for the western and norther parts of King’s Cross.  It’s called ‘placeshaping‘ (all one word) and has already caused great upset by omitting Islington and all the areas south of the Euston Road.  My comments so far are here.  More debate on King’s Cross Environment and KXDF.

The government’s cash contribution to the proposed medical research lab (UKCMRI) on the northern part of the British Library site has escaped last week’s draconian cuts, so still could go ahead.  There is still intense local opposition in Somers Town.

The other thing to report is that Camden has now come up with a scheme for spending the million or so which Network Rail agreed to stump up when they refused so categorically to build the footbridge over the tracks at King’s Cross. The money is to improve conditions for pedestrians on York Way. (This is the grim chasm alongside King’s Cross, filled with bus stops, bus fumes and fast traffic. It’s the street everyone walking from the north or east wll have to use to get to any of the stations.)  This really is a shrimp of a scheme, widening a sidewalk and improving pedestrian crossings. By the time we heard it was almost too late to comment, though we did, hereDiscussion here.

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Author: Ed

staff in the Bartlett School of Planning and cooperating with others in UCL and with the Just Space Network to support London citizens' inpu

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