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KXRLG no longer exists

From 1 April 2013 the King's Cross Railway Lands Group no longer exists. The directors, after consultation with members, resolved to discontinue the limited company. Companies House has been informed. The London wide Just Space Network will be holding an event in June that will celebrate the 25 years work of KXRLG and its lessons for other similar London organisations. Please visit http://justspace.org.uk for more information.
UK Web Archive
This web site is being archived by the British Library for posterity. At some point later in 2013 or early in 2014 this site will cease to be available here (kxrlg.org.uk) and users will only be able to consult the archived version.

Sorting the archives

On 20 March 2013 a class of 30 UCL masters students training as archivists applied their skills in a blitz on 20 boxes of papers from the history of the area. These papers were mainly materials left by the late Lisa Pontecorvo when she died and are being sorted and ordered ready for submission to the local history archives of Camden, Islington and the London Metropolitan Archive. All the material relating to the history of the Railway Lands Group will end up at the LMA, joining material deposited there some years ago when the group ceased to have an office. We are very grateful to them all, to their Prof, Jenny Bunn, and others who helped. 2013-03-20 sortinge.jpg
 
One of the treasures which came to light in the sorting was a copy of the 1989 publication People or Profit which explained the financial calculations behind the London Regeneration Consortium's scheme for King's Cross and invited members of the local community to test the economics of alternative scehemes. To download a PDF copy click here or on the cover image.
click to download 1989 report
The sorting process is throwing up various copies of printed (published) materials like Argent and Camden reports. These will be used to complete gaps in the UCL library collections and offered to the library at the Central St Martin's (University of the Arts) in the Granary at King's Cross.

Marian Larragy in FT film about King's Cross

Co-chair of KXRLG puts community view of King's Cross development in Financial Times film, stressing what was achieved by activists, residents. (December 2012) http://video.ft.com/v/1978700686001/New-face-of-London-s-King-s-Cross

King's Cross Neighbourhood Forum

Launch events Saturday afternoon 10th and Wednesday 14th 5.30 - details on their web site.

This organisation has today launched its own web site at http://kingscrossneighbourhoodforum.com and we advise members to keep an eye on it. We shall no longer need to publish their minutes, agendas and other documents.
If you wish to get in touch contact the Forum info@kingscrossneighbourhoodforum.com or complete the form on their web site. November 2012.

STANLEY:

Argent design proposals are coming up for planning permission for Plot E1 which is the remaining fragment of Stanley Buildings South which is to be enfolded in some way in a new office block. The plans are now available to view on Camden's web site http://planningonline.camden.gov.uk/MULTIWAM/showCaseFile.do?appType=Planning&appNumber=2012%2F4147%2FP
The Development Forum will be drafting comments. Please send contributions to info@kxrlg.org.uk or to the secretary Robert Milne <rem@antelope.org.uk> 26 August 2012

ISLINGTON CIL

Consultation on Islington's draft Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) document. No comments were received and the KXRLG has accordingly not submitted any objections or observations.

Islington Local Plan

26 August 2012 LBI writes to seek comments on various new documents:
After a number of rounds of consultation the council has produced three planning policy documents that have been submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination and are now available for public inspection. These are: 1. Site Allocations policies for specific sites across the borough where new housing, work places, community facilities and open space could be created;
2. Development Management Policies guidelines for making decisions on planning applications across the borough; and
3. Finsbury Local Plan (Area Action Plan for Bunhill and Clerkenwell) this is a 15 year plan to manage future population and economic growth in this part of the borough.
During the examination an independent planning inspector will assess whether these planning policy documents are 'sound'.
In addition to the above documents the following other supporting documents for documents 1-3 above are also available for inspection:
4. Sustainability Appraisals
5. Maps of changes to adopted policies; Proposals Map changes
6. Consultation Statements
7. Copies of comments (known as 'representations') made on the documents from consultations in October-December 2011 and May-June 2012.
8. Other supporting documents relevant to the preparation of the document, including evidence.
Copies of all the documents are available at:
* the Municipal Offices, 222 Upper Street, N1 1XR (Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm)
* online at www.islington.gov.uk/LDF.
Copies of documents 1-6 can be inspected at local libraries (details and opening hours available a thttp://www.islington.gov.uk/services/libraries/local).
We anticipate the examination hearings will take place in late 2012/early 2013. We will regularly update our website www.islington.gov.uk/LDF with information about this. For further information call 020 7527 6799/2720, or email LDF@islington.gov.uk.

"Charmless past" of King's Cross

26 August 2012 You may laugh or cry at this flagrant example of disrespect for our local past:
"Usually when a district up-and-comes, its early adopters bemoan its newfound popularity. Spitalfields got a Carluccio's, Shoreditch pubs lost their edge once they started selling wine; in New York, Williamsburg's artists got priced out of their waterside lofts. Not so with King's Cross, however. There can be few with nostalgic fondness for its charmless past, its all-too-gritty dark corners, save the odd, half-remembered night of dancing in a disused warehouse." full article at: http://www.cntraveller.com/news/2012/june/londons-hottest-neighbourhood-kings-cross/kings-cross-central

Valuable resources notified to us by London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies

26 August 2012 www.londonforum.org.uk
DCLG has published a consultation on proposals to give developers the option to renegotiate s106 deals made before April 2010 http://bit.ly/Oefudt
RICS has published guidance on developer financial viability in planning related to NPPF content on this subject http://bit.ly/OWCpZu /A>
Home Builders Federation and Local Govt Association advice on the viability testing of Local Plans
http://bit.ly/PK5OYq
RICS research on the transition from Section 106 to the Community Infrastructure Levy and the issues http://bit.ly/O7rJFT
DCMS seeks views on simplifying Listed Building Consent (LBC) and reducing the circumstances in which LBC is required http://bit.ly/Qozheu

KX Neighbourhood Forum

26 August 2012 This is a recently-formed body which wants to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan for the locality under the terms of the Localism Act 2011. It is busy organising itself and recruiting more members / supporters. For some reason it doesn't yet have a web presence so we are attaching here its most recent minutes. If you wish to get in touch contact Zannthie Brooks zannthie@gmail.com

KXDF meeting 27th, and Neighbourhood Forum update

The next meeting of the King's Cross Development Forum will be at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday 27 June in Committee Room 2 of Camden Town Hall.

The meeting will hear from Argent about the plans for:
-- E1 (the envelope of the remaining Stanley Building, formerly intended to house a health centre).
-- P1 (a primary school).
-- Handyside Park (the play area for children to the north of the Regent's Canal).
The meeting will also have an update on setting up the neighbourhood forum.

Here is an update on the setting up of a "Neighbourhood Forum" (with a view to making a "Neighbourhood Plan" under the Localism Act). They don't appear to have a public web site yet so a copy of the update is available here. posted 22 June 2012


New occupier for the German Gym

27 May 2012. Thanks to a correspondent for pointing out that Argent has leased the Gym to General Electric (GE) who plan to display things there in time for this year's Olympics. Details here. (The visitor centre activities have already moved from the German Gym to space in the ground floor of the Granary building, now part of Central St Martin's school of art.)

Comments on new "Place Plan"

21 May 2012. KXRLG contributed to the response to this document sent in from the King's Cross Development Forum (of which we are members).

The previous draft was criticised heavily for covering an area which was too small, for being verbose, not committed enough about who would do what and for avoiding many key issues.

This new version has grown to 100 pages, with loads of repetitions, and strikes many of us as rather pointless, though it does now have lists of thing needing to be done. It ducks the cycling / pedestrian safety issue at the King's Cross interesection, avoids discussing the historic buildings and building lines on the south side of King's Cross Square, it completely fails to understand the arguments surrounding the (missing) bridge over the tracks at King's Cross and seems to have been written by people unaware of the severity of the housing crisis affecting local people.

Otherwise it may be a useful document. The Forum's detailed comments (will be) on its web site here and are available here as well. The May draft of the Place Plan is on the web sites of both councils and is also archived here. Please note that, although we have compressed the file, it is 4MB in size and may be slow to download. [ However I can't manage t upload this huge file to this site, so be patient or get it from one of the Council's sites, below - Ed. 27 May ]

2 May 2012. We have 21 days to respond to a new version of the King's Cross "Place Plan" (now a joint Camden/Islington project, thanks to the derision we all poured on the earlier version which stopped in the middle of the area). This appears to be a new name for what was previously called a "Placeshaping Plan".
It is not clear whether Camden will also be seeking views on the new draft: it's probably best if individuals and groups send their views to BOTH councils. The Camden contacts are given here first, followed by the Islington email which has just arrived.
Email: helen.peacock-sevilla@camden.gov.uk
Website at Camden: www.camden.gov.uk/placeshaping

Islington writes:
King's Cross is an important and vibrant area that will experience major growth and change in the coming years, mainly as a result of the King's Cross Central development and improvements to King's Cross Station. These changes create both opportunities and challenges for local communities.
The draft Place Plan is available on Islington Council's website http://www.islington.gov.uk/kingscross
We would like to hear your views on this Place Plan. Please send your comments to me by Monday 21 May 2012.
Running alongside this project, Islington and Camden Councils have recently received an application proposing a Neighbourhood Forum for the King's Cross area. This is currently being considered by both Councils.
Hayley McNicol Principal Planner Environment and Regeneration


New owner for Kings Place

27 April 2012: The building on York Way by the canal bridge, where the Guardian and Network Rail have their offices, has just been sold by its original developer, Peter Millican's Parabola Land Ltd, to a German investment fund, Deka. The Estates Gazette reports (14 April) that he realised £235m from the sale, a huge profit on the £150m he is estimated to have spent on developing it. (People interested in the technical details may be interested to know that the building is estimated to generate £13m per year in rent, nearly £40 per square foot (£420 per square metre), a yield of 5.6% a year to the purchaser. The Deka fund involved is the open-ended fund WestInvest InterSelect.)
The Arts Journal of 9 April reports that the concert areas have been leased back to the trust which runs them and that Peter Millican remains the chair of the Trust, so the cultural programme is safe, with a 99 year lease at a peppercorn rent. Architects for the building were Dixon Jones, the office famous for the Royal Opera House transformation and the new galleries at the National Portrait Gallery.
The Kings Place building is one of the main subjects of Angela Inglis' 2012 book King's Cross: a sense of place (Matador) [ more at http://kingscrossasenseofplace.org.uk ] It is also the subject of Ziona Strelitz's book Energy, People Place (SHP) [ more at http://www.ribabookshops.com/item/energy-people-place-sustainable-urban-paradigm/78053/ ]

Argent construction news

19 April 2012 Argent have just sent us their Spring 2012 Construction News which is a general update. The University of the Arts wins a prize and there are details of cycling, junction and crossing improvements on York Way plus other news. Download here.

"Neighbourhood Forum / Neighbourhood Plan": bids submitted

6 and 10 April 2012. Following the 22 March meeting reported below, a largely-new group of people have come together to prepare and submit a proposal to Camden and Islington. Details are, for the moment, on the Development Forum web site http://kxdf.wordpress.com

A smaller and separate bid has been submitted for Somers Town. Details are at http://www.camdencen.org.uk/Camden%20Blueprint-%20Somers%20Town%20Neighbourhood%20Plan.htm

The King's Cross Railway Lands Group is not a part of the King's Cross bid though a number of KXRLG members are among the individuals sponsoring the bid. It is also not a part of the Somers Town bid.

Railway Lands Group activists credited for much that's good at King's Cross

25 March 2012. Henry Porter in the Observer writes a long and thoughtful piece on King's Cross in which he credits KXRLG and its members' 25 years of struggle for much that's good about the area today. Actually he probably overdoes it. But it's cheering.

Camden consulting on site allocations until the end of April

24 March 2012 Camden has revised the planning document in which they deal with bits of land where they expect developments or changes of use. These documents can be very important - e.g. in enabling lots of jobs to disappear as industrial sites get switched to student or other housing. So we need to look at it and comment by the deadline. They say: "This is to let you know that this final consultation stage runs until 1st May 2012. More Information and how to respond can be seen on the Council's website at: http://camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/environment/planning-and-built-environment/two/planning-policy/local-development-framework/site-allocations-development-plan.en
Documents can also be viewed at Council libraries. We welcome any comments you may have.
Please let us know if you want to be kept informed in the future about this document (even if you don't want to respond) or want to update any contact details.
Please respond to planning.sites@camden.gov.uk (Neil Cleary)"
If you or your groups wants to contribute to an RLG response please email (or copy your email to the Council) to info@kxrlg.urg.uk

"Place Shaping" plan extends to Islington: update

24 March 2012 Mathhew Furness, the officer at Camden, writes to say that Camden "are also now working with colleagues at the London Borough of Islington following a meeting between lead Councillors from both Councils around the turn of the year. This will enable us to expand the document to cover parts of King's Cross on the Islington side of the borough boundary, which many participants felt was hugely important. Once the joint work is complete, an updated draft will be made available on Islington's website for comment. We will write to you again to advise you when this happens and will also publish an update on our website at: http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/environment/planning-and-built-environment/place-plans/king-s-cross/

We have also been working to respond to feedback on the format and layout of place plans and you can view the Kentish Town Plan via the following link as an example: http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/environment/planning-and-built-environment/place-plans/kentish-town/

"Neighbourhood Forums" setting up

23 March 2012 At a packed meeting of the King's Cross Development Forum last night a dozen or more of those present decided to go ahead with the formation of a "Neighbourhood Forum" under the coalition's Localism Act and set out to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. There are clearly at least the necessary 21 local enthusiasts to launch a Forum.
The geographic area will probably extend roughly from the ovetground railway in the north down to roughly St George's Gardens in the south and from Caledonian Rd and Penton St in the east to Judd St and Midland Road in the west. Somers Town is omitted because people there propose their own Forum and Plan.
More news is likely very soon. Watch http://kxdf.wordpress.com/

Comments on 3 new Mayor of London documents

6 and 23 March 2012 Pending the launch of a new Just Space web site, we have used the familiar old one http://justspace2010.wordpress.com or for short http://wp.me/PL68t-y to post the following, all of which have KXRLG inputs:
Just Space response to the London Plan Implementation Plan, submitted at the end of last week, highly critical of the inadequate response to crisis conditions and of the failure to ensure that the Mayor's decisions on individual projects actually conform to the London Plan.
and
A collective response submitted today to the draft Revised Mayor's Housing Strategy which represents the views of a wide range of community and voluntary sector organisations, prepared over recent weeks and edited by Sharon Hayward. Those supporting the response were: London Civic Forum, Homeless Link, Just Space, London Forum of Civic and Amenity Societies, Housing Justice, London Voluntary Service Council, London Federation of Co-operative Housing, Camden Federation of Private Tenants, King's Cross Railway Lands Group, Zaccheaus 2000 Trust, Hayes Community Development Forum, London Tenants Federation, Stonewall Housing, London Gypsy and Traveller Unit. This is a very strong document, mainly calling for much tougher measures to tackle affordability and the threats posed to mixed communities in London by benefit caps.
A Just Space response to the London Plan draft Early Minor Alterations. These alterations are not so minor: they greatly weaken the plan's capacity to secure affordable housing. There is also a KXRLG direct response here.

Google moving in?

The Evening Standard reports that Argent has signed an agreement with Google to move its UK office from Buckingham Palace Road to the south-eastern part of King's Cross Central. The building would be of about 70,000 m2 and is to be designed by the architects AHMM.

Development Forum met 9 February 2012 and resolved to move towards becoming a 'Neighbourhood Forum' and making a Neighbourhood Plan.

Coalition's "Localism Act" creates a new element in the system, the 'Neighburhood plan' and the KXDF, after some debate, decided that it would be sensible to move towards lodging a bid with Camden and Islington Councils. More details will appear at http://kxdf.wordpress.com/ The deadline for expressions of interest is the end of March and there will be a major meeting about this - now fixed for 22 March

New Construction newsletter from Argent (dated winter 2011)

Download at http://www.constructionatkingscross.com No new projects seem to be started except Camden's new offices and services building. Lots of clear-up and infrastrcture work.

King's Cross Square: KXRLG objects to glass box proposal for 1 Euston Road

And the application was rejected by officers, after consultation with elected members. There is a massive list of grouds for refusal at http://bit.ly/sr1eqO . Still no sign that Camden is desgning King's Square as a whole. The boundary of their "placemaking" plan area cuts through the middle of the "place".
oblique view looking west Angela Inglis photo from North

OBJECTION lodged with Camden 1 December 2011: on these grounds:

(i) principle - good urban design and good planning requires that all sides of the King's Cross Square be considered together. Camden would be in breach of its own policies and London Plan policies for its piecemeal approach if it granted this one.

(ii) procedure: Camden officers knowingly and deviously withheld knowledge of this proposal both in the "Place Shaping" report on King's Cross and in the consultations on the northern side of the Square.

(iiii) substance. The essence of the King's Cross Square is the range of Georgian buildings on this site, flowing round into Gray's Inn Road and matched by the Lighthouse Block and Bravington's. The case for removing the front extensions back to the Georgian facades is just as strong here as on the north side.

(iv) Safety. Given the urgent short-term concerns about pedestrian and cyclist safety at this junction, and the long-term needs to re-plan the 'gyratory', the widest possible space on the south side of the square is desirable.

A number of individual members and member groups have also written objecting. All the objections and comments should appear on Camden's web site along with the application documents - link below.


King's Cross Square: urgent big glass box crowding in.

We have just until Thursday 1 November to comment or object to Camden about a planning application on the south side of the 'Square'. Details are at http://kingscrossenvironment.com/2011/11/28/never-mind-the-white-cliffs-its-the-glass-precipice/.
There may be lots of reasons for objecting to this proposal and it's important that - if you intend your comment to be an objection - you open your statement by saying that you object and seek to have the application refused or deferred.

This project is very surprising from a procedure point of view. Camden has evidently been in pre-applcation discussion with the proposers of the scheme while never telling any of our local organisations that it was in the pipeline. Camden had repeatedly refused to meet with the King's Cross Development Forum (of which KXRLG is a member) to discuss the King's Cross Square proposals from Network Rail, and there was no mention of this scheme in the "Place Making" plan for King's Cross (see below) or at the consultation meetings about it.

When, on 2 September, KXRLG wrote to the Head of Placeshaping to say "...you could - I hope - do something to ensure that the models or at least the graphics enable people to visualise the whole of the "square" including its southern, eastern and western sides. Place shaping surely has to be about the spaces contained by buildings!" he replied "...ask whether models or graphics can be provided in that way as I agree that this would be helpful."
It is hard not to conclude that Camden is once again manipulating its way round serious public engagement.
Links to reports and images about the scheme are on the KX Environment web site - above - and if you want to comment click on http://planningrecords.camden.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer17/PLComments.aspx?pk=276072 [ Later: this scheme was rejected by officers without even taking it to committee. ]


KX Development Forum hearing about plans for King's Cross Square

Many KXRLG members took part in the Forum meeting on 4 November and strong objections to the current scheme have been submitted to Camden, to Boris, to Tfl. More detail on the Forum web site http://kxdf.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/forum-response-to-camden-about-kings-cross-square/
image of KX Square model
Invitation to the meeting by Robert Milne (sec) in October
At its next meeting, on 4 November, the Forum will hear from the Network Rail project manager and an architect in the Stanton Williams practice about the plans for King's Cross Square. The plans have now been submitted in detailed planning applications and listed building consent applications (2011/4782/P, along with 2011/4838/P, 2011/4779/P, 2011/4888/P, 2011/4889/P and 2011/4785/L).

After the discussion of King's Cross Square there will be:
- A review of the past year.
- A discussion of the role of the Forum under the proposed new planning framework.
- The election of the officers for the coming year.

Other topics expected to be covered include:
- The planning approval for Building B3 (the new Camden Council office block).
- The allocation of the Section 106 money associated with King's Cross Central.
- The recent stage of the "Shaping the Future of the King’s Cross Area" project.
The meeting is at 7:00 p.m. on Friday 4 November in Committee Room 1 of Camden Town Hall.


Calthorpe

Fundraiser / sale / party at the Calthorpe Project, a pioneering community initiative now under threat. Wednesday 30 Novermber 1830h - come after the march if you are on strike that day. Details at http://kingscrossenvironment.com/2011/11/21/save-the-calthorpe-project-fundraiser/

Network Rail (sort of) consults

Square from St Pancras terrace (summer 2011) During the holiday period Network Rail (which is the public body operating King's Cross Station) did a little exhibition and a few days of 'consultation' about their draft designs for the public forecourt ("square") which will open up south of the station when the temporary single-storey concourse is finally removed after the Olympic games. Those who saw the exhibition were deeply unimpressed. KXRLG and many others registered disappointment and criticisms. In the end NR said they would withdraw their scheme and make modifications. Read more about all this at King's Cross Community Projects. During the autumn NR will be asking Camden for detailed planning permission and Camden will do a consultation then.
Meanwhile these are the first photos we have seen of the interior of the new NR ticket hall, from Bidgette Meinhold. http://inhabitat.com/photos-amazing-renovation-of-kings-cross-station-new-western-concourse-in-progress/

(Sept 2011)


Camden consults...

about how they are going to consult. Their Statement of Community Involvement is being revised and KXRLG has submitted comments. Download our comments here. We urge them to make sure they don't leave out all the people withut internet access, to make sure we can all comment on the minutes taken at consultation meetings (especially where the developer runs them) and make some other comments. If you want to make sure you hear about Camden consultations direct you can sign up for free notifications at http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/consultations/alert-new.jsp (This week the page does not work, but we have reported it and they say they will fix it. 10 June 2011)

Cally Festival

3 July 2011: details at http://teamcally.org.uk/category/cally-festival/

Update on King's Cross Central 25 May

Camden Council is having a special meeting on Wednesday 25 May 2011 at 1900h which will consider a report / slideshow updating progress on Argent's scheme. A copy of the report prepared for the committee is here. The same meeeting is also having a presentation on Camden's housing situation in the light of the coalition's disastrous proposals. Full details of the whole meeting are at http://democracy.camden.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=3804&T=10. All welcome to attend. If you think that KXRLG should seek to have a delegation, please email info@kxrlg.org.uk as soon as possible explaining what you think we should be saying.
 

KXDF meeting Thursday 9 November 2010

The next meeting of the King's Cross Development Forum (of which KXRLG is a founder member) will cover:
- Detailed plans for apartments on York Way just to the north of the Regent's Canal (Zone J of King's Cross Central) - to be presented by representatives of the developers, Argent King's Cross, and the archiects, dRMM.
- Updates on the plans for apartments higher up on York Way (Building R5, just beyond Building R4) - to be presented by a representative of Argent.
- Views on how the Forum will serve the needs of its member organisations and future occupants of King's Cross Central.
A paper prepared by Hugh Lake for the third item on the agenda has been emailed to contacts and is available from the secretary.
The meeting will be from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday 9 December in Committee Room 1 of Camden Town Hall. We hope to see you there.
Some further information is available on the web site, http://kxdf.wordpress.com.

UKCMRI

(Nov 2010) Proposal for Brill Place. This issue is being covered very extensively by the St Pancras and Somers Town Planning Action web site St Pancras and Somers Town Planning Action

Islington Borough Plan ("core stratgy")

27 November 2010. This week saw the public hearings ("Examination in Public") of the core strategy of the revised Islington Plan. KXRLG appeared on the first day Overall objectives + Housing, and second day King's Cross special policies. Our written comments had been submitted in the summer [ pasted in below ].

We made some headway, I think, toughening up an already quite good plan - indeed the officers and Cllr Convery seemed quite willing to be pushed towards firmer positions. The council accepted some stiffening of their policies in support of more social rented housing and some relative down-playing of "intermediate" housing which has been shown to be out of reach of most of those in need, or who could release council housing by moving. [ In recent years Islington has over-shot their target for net additional dwellings in the open market, and in the "intermediate" category, but seriously failed to produce enough social housing to rent. ]

They also agreed to revise the policy which is an apple-pie and motherhood statement about "social mix" so that it couldn't be used to reduce the space for social rented housing. It seemed to be accepted that most council estates are already very socially mixed in this part of London and that council tenants are commonly a more stable community than the transients who often occupy the non-social-rental parts of development.

They didn't want to put more detail in on the need for more larger flats but said this was in their DC document - see below.

On King's Cross we made a push to get support for the Battle Bridge, without much success. Camden is the main culprit here, and Islington people the main losers.

We also got them to strengthen their policies to protect non-office and non-corporate enterprises, and to get serious about protecting small and medium enterprises.

Our main push was for much more effective cross-border cooperation in implementation, traffic, services on York Way etc etc. We'll see what they come up with. But they did report that the two councils are now setting up a joint member-level committee on liaison and there will be officer support. We said we should like to be told, and put in touch.

That's not much, but t was certainly worth taking part.
So far as Islington is concerned, we now need to comment on a SITES document and a development management (a.k.a. Development Control) document. Anyone offering?

Is anyone up to speed on the Camden equivalent?

Our original statement was:

The King's Cross Railway Lands Group is active in Camden and Islington, seeking (for 20 years) to secure community benefits from the development at King's Cross and to represent the interests of surrounding communities.

We regard the draft Core Strategy of LBI as deficient in the following respects and not compliant with the London Plan. We consider that it should be rejected as unfit and, if there is a public Inquiry, we wish to be heard.

1. We do not consider that the CS goes anywhere near to conforming with the LP policies of equality of opportunities and enabling all Londoners to share in the city's prosperity. In particular its commitments for social housing to rent are profoundly inadequate and must be greatly strengthened if low and middle income communities are to have a hope of surviving.

2. The CS espousal of 'social mix' is very dangerous because, unless very carefully qualified, this fine sentiment can be used to cut down on the extent of social rented housing to make room for other tenures. In fact, however, as we argued at the Triangle Inquiry, (a) the population in social housing in Islington is already very diverse (b) the overwhelming need of poorer households is for MORE social housing to rent and a better size mix.

3 The persistence of high level of under-employment and unemployment in Islington clearly is not being solved by the types of economic growth we have recently witnesed in London. The CS is deficient unless it is based on a strong commiment to the survival of (and support for) sectors and enterprises (including public, private and social enterprises) which offer entry-level jobs and good training and progression. Continued growth of corporate office space should be resisted.

4. In terms of movement, the CS should include a commitment to pedestrian, cycle and wheelchair permeability and in particular to the construction of the 'Battlebridge' footbridge across the ECML just north of King's Cross, where Camden behaved very badly in permitting NR to go ahead without building it.


Camden rushing through a local plan for (part of) King's Cross

31 October 2010. Local people have been taken by surprise by Camden Council's decision to start making a local plan for an area west and (a bit) north of King's Cross but excluding everywhere south of the Euston Road and all of the islington side. Two meetings have just been held at short notice, a draft plan is expected in December and final plan in March. Blink and you'll miss it. (30 October 2010)

Read more here, and some preliminary views from the group.
Download Camden's document here
KXDF comments here
King's Cross Environment outrage here
28 November: Camden's report on its "placeshaping" workshops. [ Download here ]


York Way traffic. Camden has done a botched consultation on a very disappointing scheme to improve conditions in York Way. The KXRLG found out about it and responded here. Good coverage at King's Cross Environment. (31 October 2010)

Argent seeking detailed permision for office blocks betwen the stations

18 March 2010. Argent have applied for planning approval of the designs and details of office buildings in Zone B between the two stations. Any individual or group can comment or object. Details on the King's Cross Development Forum web site http://kxdf.wordpress.com/ Comments to Camden by 24 March or soon thereafter. (To help in this process, Stefan Schulte's Bulletin Board has inserted the following links to the actual applications on the Camden Council Website. By clicking the links you will be taken to the specific applications and once there will find further links to see the details of what is being proposed and to comment online. There is a lot of info, so look for the link that will take you to "View Related Documents" and then look for items that show "drawing packages".)
Building B2 application: 2010/0864/P
Building B4 application: 2010/0868/P
Building B6 application: 2010/0870/P
Public realm application: 2010/0872/P
Basements and vehicle access/ramp application: 2010/0862/P

Come Monday 29 March 2010

A last-minute chance to hear Argent (Kings Cross) present their proposals for Zone B (commercial buildings and public realm) is available to Forum members and those belonging to their organisations from 4pm on Monday 29 March at the Gruning Room in the German Gym (ground floor). If you can, please notify the Chair of KXDF that you are coming, but come anyway. Comments are due in to Camden Planning by April 1st (i.e. by Easter).

Canal consultation starts now and has a Tuesday 23rd March meeting

David Marriott (David.Marriott@argentgroup.plc.uk) writes: "I just wanted to drop you a quick line to remind you about the Canal Fund consultation at the German Gymnasium next Tuesday (3pm - 8pm). I've tried to take on all of the points you made below
- we have a website dedicated to the Consultation http://www.lathamarchitects.co.uk/kingscross/ that will contain details of the Masterplan proposals after the event on Tuesday. There will be a form or email address on there to allow those people who can't make it along on Tuesday to give feedback.
The website also contains all the details of the event.
Regards Dave
Brill Place / UKCMRI Wednesday 10 February 2010 from 6.30pm until 8.30pm at St Mary and St Pancras Primary School, 81 Werrington Street, NW1 1QP. This is off Polygon Rd at the Eversholt end. Camden Council are consulting on the expected planning application to build a medical research centre on the northern half of what used to be the British Library site - for which there is a planning brief specifying affordable housing and other community uses. This is not an issue on which KXRLG members have taken a position, except that - as at King's Cross Station - we are keen to ensure east-west pedestrian and cycle permeability. All welcome. Email dawn.allott@camden.gov.uk to reserve a seat and if you want to pre-register a question.
KX Development Forum Thursday 11 Feb 2010, room1, Camden Town Hall, 1900h. Agenda mostly about York Way - safety, transport, environment, landscape on unusued land, a new Argent proposal for housing. Full details at http://kxdf.wordpress.com/

Argent going ahead with another social housing block. Is it OK?

The economic crisis means that Argent can't get on with any of the most profitable private business developments on the railway lands. It is hard for them to borrow money for speculative buildings. Furthermore private corporations, including Sainsburys who were planning to move in, are reluctant to sign leases. Thus the only parts of the project which are going ahead are those which are wholly or partly paid for with taxpayers' money - the University of the Arts and some housing schemes which have a high social housing content.

The latest scheme is block R4 on York Way for which Argent have just submitted an application. (Like the rest of the King's Cross Central scheme, agreement in principle was given by Camden in a controversial and close vote some years ago: now they need approval of the design, materials, floorspace, layouts and so on.) The Railway Lands Group works as part of the King's Cross Development Forum in assessing these applications. Full details are at http://kxdf.wordpress.com/ and you can comment on that web site or by email to info@kxrlg.org.uk and thus contribute to the Railway Lands Group's response. Consultations close 18 February. See also the 11 Feb meeting above

Lisa - the musical

Rob Inglis writes: could KXRLG members please send me their memories of Lisa Pontecorvo for "Lisa - a folk opera" which I'm writing for performances in Camden and Islington. Please help me to make this a vivid, honest, colourful portrait of an energetic campaigner. In particular I need information on her time in Camden Town when she worked as a specialist video play centre assistant, and her work as a film archivist for BBC/Open productions.

Diana Shelley has agreed to help with information about Lisa and Cally Rail Group; I have information about Lisa and the P & O development. But I shall be grateful for anything anyone can e-mail [ artsxchange (at symbol) btinternet.com ]or telephone to 020 7387 4942.

Excerpts will be performed on Wednesday 14 April in association with Bengali Workers' Association for Bengali New Year's Day. The venue has yet to be decided. This event will involve singers from St Mary's Church, Eversholt Street, Soohan Somali Arts, Bengali elders and youth, and professional performers. Lisa strove to include everyone, so this multi-cultural event will be appropriate.

There will be a short performance at the end of June in Lisa's beloved Edward Square, mostly involving Islington schools, and a fuller production soon afterwards in The Assembly Hall in Islington Town Hall.


Comments on Boris's new London Plan on 12 January

The Railway Lands Group has submitted its response to the (new) Mayor of London's (new) London Plan. This plan would replace Ken Livingsone's plan which was not nearly as supportive of community needs in King's Cross as the Group had hoped. The new plan seems better in some ways and worse in other ways. The benefits of "regeneration" on the same old basis are not being challenged or re-thought. King's Cross residents and businesses have commented on the DRAFT of the KXRLG's response, which has now been finalised and submitted. The document can be downloaded here. . The response refers to another submission - by the Just Space network of communty groups of which we are members. The Just Space material can be seen here.

Summary: The King's Cross Railway Lands Group welcomes some aspects of the new Plan, has comments on others and objects to policies on Housing, Economy, Opportunity Areas and Regeneration and Walking/Cycling - with proposals for changes. It seeks to be heard at the examination in public, especially on housing and regeneration issues, and would amplify its written evidence in advance.


King's Cross station bridge

The campaign hots up as Network Rail closes the north-east access to the station. Listen here to an audio interview with local people on the day NR closed the entrance http://www.canstream.co.uk/camden/index.php?cat=NewsandCurrentAffairs
For full details of the campaign go to http://www.kingscrossaccess.com/

Historical walk in Somers Town

Linda Clarke, historian of Somers Town's original development, led a walk through the area for KXRLG in April. About 40 people took part and historical maps used in the tour will shortly be available here. We are also considering further historical events.

Death of Phil Jeffries

Phil Jeffries died on Sunday 14 December, less than 4 months after being diagnosed with cancer. He was a founder member of the Railway Lands Group in 1987, was a member of its committee for most of the subsequent 21 years and served as Chair on three separate occasions.

His very sharp mind and strong commitment made him a powerful force in the work of the KXRLG and the Cally Rail Group - especially through his mastery of parliamentary and legal procedures.

Most recently, Phil was instrumental in all the preparations and briefings required for the Think Again Campaign's Judicial Review against Camden Council and then the Public Inquiry into the development of the Triangle site. In this photo he is acting as advocate for the Cally Rail Group and the KXRLG at the Inquiry.

He was very stalwart, a good friend and always politically shrewd. He is sorely missed by his many allies and comrades in the Railway Lands Group and we send our warmest greetings to his partner Diana Shelley. Her recollections, together with a video interview with Phil and an opportunity for others to add their own contributions are at http://www.kingscrossenvironment.com/kings_cross_people/
Details of a celebration and memorial event will be announced in the new year.
Photo of Phil. Someone must have a better one.

Designs submitted for new Sainsbury's HQ on Goods Street; KXRLG objects

Consultations closed on 1 December but it is still worth sending in comments after that because they may be reported to Committee.
Full details of the proposals are on the new King's Cross Development Forum Website here. .
KXRLG representation is here.

Annual General Meeting of the Railway Lands Group 7.00pm on Tuesday 18 November at Coopers Lane. [ Details here. ]
[ Location map here ]


22 October 08Argent unable to borrow for their first phase so the pension fund which owns them looks like having to pay for much of it, LCR and Exel contributing as well. Stories here:
Financial Times: King's Cross project rescued at 11th hour
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e7d00ff4-9fa1-11dd-a3fa-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1
Property Week: King's Cross project secures last minute funding
http://www.propertyweek.com/story.asp?storycode=3125560&origin=PWdailynews
Celebration / memorial event for Lisa Pontecorvo in Edwards Square at 2.00pm (approx) on Friday 14 November. Details, obituaries, tributes at http://www.kingscrossenvironment.com/kings_cross_people/

New Borough Plans in preparation

Both Islington and Camden are preparing new borough plans to replace their existing ones. There are various stages of consultation and the key issues are buried deep inside the documents. KXRLG's Richard Lee has prepared some briefings. More information here

Recent and current campaigns:

EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES IN KING'S CROSS [ record of the meeting here ]
A General Meeting was held on THURSDAY 10th APRIL 7pm at Jean Stokes Community Hall
This meeting was a success and the record of the meeting is very detailed and informative. The Railway Lands Group issues the following statement (July)
The target of 30% local jobs is a huge challenge for the KX development. Everything we know about efforts to get access to training and jobs in new developments for local people suggests that to achieve anything approaching this target will require a lot more interaction between developers/local authorities and schools, colleges, youth projects and employment and training providers and local communities. KXRLG undertook an outreach project in south Islington (funded by the Cripplegate Foundation) to develop a stronger community base from which to communicate with the developers. One of the gatherings we organised to discuss the issues was at the employers suite at City and Islington College. This brought together schools, colleges and local providers, who wanted a lot more collaboration. Another was a youth discussion group at the Copenhagen Youth Project, Blessed Sacrament Church. This confirmed that there is quite a lot to be done if young people in the area are to benefit from developments.
Our key strategic aims are:-
**to get an Employment and Training Panel set up as part of the ongoing infrastructure for the KX development
**to influence the new construction training centre to ensure that it benefits from the most recent and pertinent knowledge available and that it plans to reach as widely as it needs to do.
**to enable the development of community based employment and training consortium which can bid for contracts from the development

 

Access to and through King's Cross Station. There is a mounting campaign about this. Packed public meeting on 16 July prepared for action. [ report of meeting here ]
[ sign petition ]

Camden are considering the long-awaited Arup reports on footbridge links across the north end of the station. The reports are here.

Link to blog, website, petition on this issue

The threat is that King's Cross becomes an impenetrable blockage in the city, initially like this:
plan showing only one way in to KX
and only slightly better after Argent open up their Boulevard.

[ List of suggested people to write to about this. ]

King's Cross Development Forum
next scheduled meetings:
AGM 11th Sept '08
13th November '08

Details from Angela.Ryan@camden.gov.uk
 
granary as proposed, oblique
[ KXDF comments on Argent proposals for the Granary / University of the Arts ]
[ KCCAAC comments. ]
 
[ Agenda for 10 July meeting here ]
Triangle site - public Inquiry
This public inquiry ended on Friday 4 April

23 July: we lost
Decision goes in favour of Argent, against community. Bad news for social housing provision and for noise standards.
[ our press release ]
[ Inspector's Report ]
[ Minister's Decision Letter ]

Background here All the documents including the closing speeches

Sattelite photo here
 
Triangle site plan, with York Way beside it on the west (left)
Meanwhile Argent's application for permission to use the Triangle in the interim for a construction training centre has been approved. Application details here. KXRLG and CRG have supported this use subject to noise and pedestrian access being adequately handled.
What Next?
Demolition of Culross Buildings, July 2008 Photo Herman Trebelnig Keeping track of change at King's Cross

There is a steady stream of construction and planning applications and it will continue for some years. The Railway Lands Group will try and keep you up to date with what is going on.
[ more ]


Slides from a talk by Michael Edwards on how Lord Rogers' 'Urban Renaissance' report worked out at King's Cross. June 2008. [ download pdf ]
Brussels group active round the South Station - where the Eurostar arrives - are seeeking our help and support in opposing a draft plan which threatens compulsory purchase and displacement so that new housing for richer people can be built instead.[ More information here. ]
Saturday 8 December Chamber Music Concert in aid of the KXRLG's work with young people and the work of the KX Conservation Area Advisory Committee, starring the Galliard Trio. At St Pancras New Church. Concert and booking details here.
[ Later: this was a great success ]
15 November: King's Cross Development Forum 1900-2100h in Committee Room 3 of Camden Town Hall, Judd Street. This is the consultation forum set up by Camden (and Islington) in relation to the railway lands / Kings Cross Central. All welcome. Details from Angela.Ryan@camden.gov.uk


Crossrail approved 05 10 07

Will Perrin on local impact at King's Cross here.   Professor Sir Peter Hall writing in Regeneration and Renewal here.

Class struggle?

Stale Holgersen, in a scholarly analysis of the controversies at King's Cross, identifies the class interests which underlie the planning conflicts. [ Download his Masters Thesis here - large PDF file of 14mb ]
Cover of Angela Inglis' book

Railway Lands: catching St Pancras and King's Cross

Out now for local buyers: Angela Inglis' book of photos and writing about the King's Cross and St Pancras we are loosing.

If you would like to buy the book, it costs £30 and, knowing the quality of Angela's work, will be worth every penny. Copies in all good bookshops from next week, not least Housmans at 5 Caledonian Road. [ details of the book here ]


Eurostar maiden visit today 4 September. Pictured on the embankment between the tunnel portal and St Pancras. Photo by Sheila Smith, who was standing at the north end of the Berlin Bank. In the background the flats on Agar Grove and the cement depot. [ More images here. ]

image copyright Sheila Smith

Consultations begin on detailed plans 16 July: the Granary

Kings Cross Development Forum announces that the committee room 2 (Old Town Hall) has been booked for a co-ordinating group meeting on this Monday 16th July, as agreed by the full Forum meeting. The meeting will commence at 6.30pm and run to 8.30pm. Those members of Forum who are interested in planning our approach to the forthcoming application for the building commonly called The Granary to house the University of the Arts are welcome to join members of the co-ordinating group. We will start where the Forum meeting left off and may set up a special working group on this expected application - or we may choose to work on it through the co-ordinating group. Members of Forum who are interested and willing to work with us are particularly welcome.

Hail and Farewell

Hail...

...to Islington Council which showed more determination to secure social housing than Camden. On Tuesday 10 July 2007 they refused permission to Argent for the part of 'King's Cross Central' which falls partly in Islington. The committee received a strong and detailed statement from the Cally Rail Group and a supporting statement from KXRLG and then discussed the application at some length. Despite advice from their officers and protest from Argent, they resolved to turn the scheme down because the proportion of affordable housing could be as low as 18% of the proposed dwellings, and certainly could not be more than 40% - against the Council's requirement for 50%.
[ CNJ report here ]
[ Cally Rail Group written statement here ] [ CRG Press Release here ]

Farewell...

Stanley Buildings North was demolished by 10 July. This listed building, which we tried to save, and which Camden sold to Argent for probably less than half of its value, has now disappeared. See all the stories below for background. A full obituary is in preparation.

Canal boat residents face eviction by Argent/LCR

Please support this long-established community of residents, now faced with imminent eviction from their moorings, even though there will be new moorings in the completed King's Cross redevelopment. More information at http://www.kingscrossenvironment.com/. And you could support them by coming to the High Court in the Strand Thursday 14th June at 9.30 when they will challenge their eviction.

Judicial review fails

25 May 2007: The judge ruled against us. Details in press release from the King's Cross Think Again campaign here. Help us raise the £10,000 costs we now have to pay - click on 'donate' at the top of the page.
Full text of our skeleton argument here
Full text of Camden's skeleton argument here
Full text of the Interested Parties' (Argent etc) skeleton argument here.
The full text of the judgement is at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2007/1515.html. Archived copy here.
Stanley Buildings: objection raised with Local Government Ombudsman. 15 May 2007 Del Brenner, secretary of the Regent's Network, has filed a formal complaint about the way in which camden Council handled the sale of Stanley Buildings to Argent, especially the price agreed which (see below) seems to have been much lower than it should have been. [ Text of the complaint here. ]
Judicial Review comes to Court: 24 and 25 May 2007 First day in court - some good and some less good bits. More news and verdict friday. Meanwhile BBC has coverage and video at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/6686789.stm
Reserve these dates and come to the High Court if you can and support the Campaign for Camden Council to 'think again' about King's Cross. Further details of the campaign are summarised in the latest update leaflet here and details are further down this page. Details about the Court hearing are here.
Link to exhibition poster Exhibition of photographs by Angela Inglis held recently - now closed. Details here.
Link to Angela Inglis' web site here.

Defending Stanley Buildings: a victory 24 April

Agreement was reached between lawyers for KXRLG (leading the King's Cross Think Again Campaign) and lawyers for Argent. Argent initially asked for the lifting of Mr Justice Collins' order prohibiting any demolitions until the Judicial Review is settled. But they have now agreed to live with the order and undertake only some non-destructive and reversible recording and salvage work in Stanley Buildings North - and to reinstate anything they remove if need be. We are satisfied that this agreement secures the options for alternative future plans for the listed and other historic buildings at King's Cross, as and when the development is re-thought.
[ KXTA press release here ] [ Court Order here ]

Defending Stanley Buildings: a defeat 25 April. Camden insist on selling to Argent at cut price

Legal team visit Stanley.  
 
 
 
Our legal team visiting Stanley Buildings. From right Alex Goodman, John Hobson QC and back view of Paul Stinchcombe our 3 barristers; and the backs of Ernest James (King's Cross Conservation Area Advisory Committee) and Phil Jeffries (Cally Rail Group). Picture by Michael Edwards (KXRLG).
 
Read more about Stanley Buildings and a critique of Argent's handling of the stations' historic context by the Conservation Area Advisory Committee - lavish, meticulous report - free download 6.9 MB.
 
Camden wants to sell Argent the 20 three-bedroom flats for £150,000 each, including the land they stand on. This would enable Argent to divert Pancras Road and squeeze an extra 96,000 square feet of offices onto the site.
A decision of the LBC Executive to sell Stanley Buildings to Argent for a rumoured £3m was discussed by the Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 24th April at the Town Hall. After listening to deputations from the Campaign and from property expert Ian Lerner, the Committee recommended that Camden get another, independent, valuation with members of all 3 political parties voting in support. But next day the Camden Executive rejected this recommendation. Fortunately, however, the government (DCLG) says it will not ratify the decision to sell until after the Judicial Review is decided. [ KXTA press release here ]

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April 13. KXRLG seeks voice at public inquiry this June on further alterations to the Mayor's London Plan, stressing housing, environmental and gentrification issues. The group is also teaming up with other community groups to press for reconsideration of the excessive emphasis on economic growth at the expense of many citizens, and for more systematic treatment of equalities issues. [ KXRLG submission here ]
[ London Civic Forum link - coordination of community representations ]
KXRLG Annual General Meeting was held on 29th March. Details sent to members and posted here with details of venue, map, agenda. This was a very important meeting and reaffirmed support for the Think Again Campaign. It also heard about a new earmarked grant from the Cripplegate Foundation to extend outreach work in islington.
Update on the Campaign following Camden's Development Control meeting on 22 March and Mr Justice Collins' latest order limiting campaigners' costs. KXRLG press release issued 25 March here.
Camden accepts 'sweetener' from Argent and agrees to sell Stanley Buildings. 14 March 2007. See KXRLG representations here but may actually have let it go at a bargain price. Report in Camden New Journal here 22 March. Then on 23 March four Camden councillors sucessfully demand that this sale be 'called in' for Scrutiny.... More to follow.

King's Cross development: campaigners win right to High Court hearing

27 Feb: Members of King's Cross Think Again campaign were delighted to hear that their application for judicial review had been recognised for its seriousness and urgency by the High Court.
In an order made last Friday, Mr Justice Collins gave directions for the hearing of the challenge to LB Camden...... [ more ]

Think Again Campaign goes to court....

13 February 07: Solicitors for KXRLG have lodged papers with the High Court seeking a judicial review of Camden's decision not to reconsider permission for Argent's scheme.
[ Short press release here]
[ Full legal document here ]

This is the outcome of many months of campaigning by hundreds of people, hundreds of donations to cover legal costs so far, hundreds of hours of unpaid work by volunteers and lawyers....
The best we can hope for is that the Court cancels Camden's decisions and requires councillors to consider the scheme afresh - which many of them are on record as wanting to do.
 
Our legal Team comprises Richard Stein and Jamie Beagent at Leigh Day and barristers John Hobson QC & Paul Stinchcombe, of 4-5 Gray's Inn Square, and Alex Goodman of Atlas Chambers. Jamie was named 'Lawyer of the Week' by The Times on 6 February for his work acting for Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade in applying for a judicial review of the decision by the Serious Fraud Office to drop the investigation into BAE's £40 billion defence deal with Saudi Arabia.
[ Link to Leigh Day press release on King's Cross ]

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Carbuncle.... eyebrows.... long walks. KXRLG objects to latest proposals for King's Cross western ticket hall, arguing that alternatives could be quicker and much better for everyone.
[ Download KXRLG objection] [ Download Conservation Area Advisory Committee observations ] [ Download Cally Rail Group objection ] Consultations in this round are now closed - 9 Feb.

Think Again Campaign

31 Jan 07 Update on the legal challenges so far made by the 'Think Again' Campaign to the grant of planning permission by Camden Council to Argent and others; Camden continues to rebut all criticisms of their procedures and the Campaign is intensifying its legal scrutiny. Watch this space.

Jan 07 The legal agreement between Camden and the developers (Section 106 agreement) which we have criticised most strongly for failing the community. For the agreement itself see below at 16 December.

The "Islington Triangle" applications.

On this the Cally Rail Group has issued a press release [ link ]drawing attention to an attempt to by-pass elected councillors. They have also a copy of a letter from Argent written to Islington Council [ link ] and are seeking support at the West Area Committee on 12 February at 1930h in the Barnsbury Centre on Offord Road.

A General Meeting was held on 31 January 2007 covering all these matters above and the Cross River Tram proposals and RLG will be submitting observations.


25 January 2007: Canopies and new mushroom roof for King's Cross station ticket office. The plans for the new canopy for KX station include a plan to close the access to King's Cross station on York Way near Goodsway and Islington residents are objecting and KXRLG should pick up on this. There is still just time to object and demand improvements,
A 5 minute video on the subject has been placed on YOUTUBE (Click on the link or cut and paste the link below to go there and watch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgXetQfU5HA&mode=user&search=
This will come up briefly at the general meeting (above). KXRLG objected - see above 31 January and 22 March.


London Plan. The Mayor has proposed further alterations to the plan and KXRLG responded to the consultation draft. There will be public hearings about this in June 2007. The KXRLG submission of December 22 2006 is here.
Permission confirmed. On 16 November Camden council's Development Control committee was cowed into confirming the grant of planning permission, and approving a weak S106 agreement. This is a major defeat for local groups and a victory (beyond the grave) for Camden's fomer leadership who were determined to see this scheme get built. Local people and organisations now have to decide whether to pursue all this to the (?bitter) end with a judicial review or not.... Members of the Railway Lands Group will shortly get a call to a strategic meeting so watch this space.
[ one participant's personal notes here, and more contributions needed from other people please ]

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Think again campaign: lawyers advise that Camden must think again, not confirm permission for Argent's development or sign-off the Section 106 agreement.
Camden council's Development Control Committee meets on 16 November and the officers are recommending permission, and approval of the Section 106 agreement.
Agenda is here, with links to other documents.: http://www3.camden.gov.uk/templates/committees/showHTML.cfm?file=19355.htm
Among them is the Section 106 Agreeement: http://www3.camden.gov.uk/templates/committees/documents/19343.pdf
and the officers' main report: http://www3.camden.gov.uk/templates/committees/showHTML.cfm?file=19355.htm
read on for the story so far....


6 November 2006: Camden's solicitors write again in response to the Campaign Group's letter of 16 October (below). All the signs are that the officers intend to forge ahead, recommending consent and approval of the S106 agreement on November 16th. It is now up to the elected members to demand a re-think.
[ Camden's 6 November reply here in full ]
2 November 2006: Railway Lands Group writes to Camden councillors summarising the further progress needed before the draft Section 106 agreement could be an acceptable basis for the development to go ahead.
[ Download KXRLG letter to Councillors ] [ Full compilation of submissions ] [ list of groups which have contributed ]
30 October 2006: Campaign group writes to every Camden councillor summarising the entire legal challenge and bringing home forcefully to them why they would be acting unlawfully if they confimed the planning permisssions to Argent. This is the simplest document for getting to grips with the story.
[ Download pdf here ]

16 October 2006 Think Again campaign groups reply to Camden saying that their letter is wholly inadequate.
[ Formal legal letter here ] [ Press release here ]
3 October 2006 finally we receive Camden's solicitors' reply to the challenge from local groups. [ Their letter here ]

21 Sept: Camden asks for more time to reply - maybe next week. [ more ]


On Friday 8 September lawyers acting for local groups presented a comprehensive challenge to the legality of Camden council's position and news was released to the local and national press today 12 September.

The campain group - led by KXRLG - hopes that this will lead, at long last, to a better scheme.
Read the press release here, in ordinary language
Read the detailed legal case here - PDF download
Read a short related letter to Islington here - PDF download
Sign the petition in support here
Donate some money towards our legal costs here.
Come to our next general meeting, to be announced here.
Read recent press coverage of the campaign here


21 Sept 2006 Developer Argent last night appointed David Partridge joint chief executive with existing head Roger Madelin

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July 2006: The Railway Lands Group, in alliance with member groups and others, is campaigning for a re-think about the proposals for the railway lands - Summer 2006. Read the leflet and sign the petition:

Click on both thumbnail images
to download the leaflet / petition
or sign the petition online at
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ThinkAgain
 
Press release about launch click here.
Ham and High 7 July 2006.  More...
Click on picture for full story at readable scale. (Not (yet?) on Ham and High web site.)

Setback in April / May

The Deputy Prime Minister decided not to question Camden's decision in March that, subject to a whole series of conditions, they would grant permission, as sought, to Argent and others. Thus there will not be the public inquiry which we have all been calling for.


31 March 2006: Progress!

In response to a deluge of objections, Mr John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister (and Minister responsible for planning), decides to take a bit more time to consider the objections and to decide whether to have a public inquiry.
Railway Lands Group letter to Mr Prescott [ download small file pdf ]
Other organisations' letters to him
Press coverage

March 2006: Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, gives the Argent scheme his go-ahead, although it does not conform with his policies.
The Mayor's Decision letter here
The GLA report to the Mayor which his letter refers to.
Camden Planning Committee, by a narrow majority, decided to grant permission to Argent on 9 March.
See "what can I do?" below.

Meanwhile there (was) an exhibition of Angela Inglis' photographs in the German Gym every day except Sundays.
nbsp;
Mr Prescott asked to hold public inquiry
See our letter to him
KXRLG deputation to Camden council
This is what we are saying on 8 March
Deputations by other local groups
We are collecting the statements of other groups
What can I do?
Support the delegations,
Watch the webcast,
and....

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8 and 9 March, two evening meeetings of the LB Camden Development Control Committee at Camden Town Hall. There is a risk that Councillors may be rushed into agreeing permission at this - the first meeting at which they have discused the project.
KXRLG will be mounting a delegation: come and support it.
Read the agenda report which officers have prepared for councillors.
[ link to Camden's web site where the report can be downloaded. ]

KXRLG Annual General Meeting and the last discussion of Argent's proposals for King's Cross before the Councils decide whther to give planning permission;
Coopers Lane TRA Hall, Purchese Street, Tuesday 28 February 2006, 1900h (7.00pm).

two meetings of the King's Cross Development Forum, the cross-borough community group. The first is on Wednesday, 18 January, at 7pm, probably at the Germany Gym, Pancras Road (opposite the new St Pancras station entrance), but confirm the venue with Angela.ryan@camden.gov.uk. This will be looking at Network Rail's proposals for the new King's Cross station concourse, for which the formal planning application is due to be lodged at the end of January. The Forum will also look at the Mayor's proposals to 'reform' planning in London. The second Forum meeting is likely to be on Wednesday, 15 February, same time same place (but check with Angela Ryan) where it is hoped to have the report which Camden officers will be taking to Camden's Development Control Committee in March. Any groups or individuals from the areas in Islington and Camden around the KX central site can join the KX Development Forum - just ask Angela Ryan to put you on her mailing list. Thanks to Diana Shelley for this info. 8 Jan.


Islington Council issues its draft comments on Argent's applications (main site). Two documents here, one on procedures, the other the actual observations. Both PDF. Islington's West Area Committee, to be held on Tuesday, 10 January, 7.30pm at the Barnsbury Complex, Offord Road, N1 1QG (the end nearest Liverpool Road, on the southern side). Councillors will be considering their views on the revised application by Argent for the main site - these documents.

Railway Lands Group objects to Argent's revised scheme.

Details here. as PDF.


Saturday 5 November 2.00pm - 5.00pm: RLG General Meeting - all welcome

This is the last opportunity to determine the Railway Lands Group's response to Argent's revised proposals. Courtyard Theatre, York Way (almost next to Macdonalds at the station end of the street). [ Document here to download ]


London Plan: KXRLG responds to the Mayor's "sub-regional development framework for central London" - about how the London Plan will be applied in this part of the city. [ Response here ]

1 October: Argent's revised planning application issued. Short period for consultations. Details here.

About our group:

King’s Cross Railway Lands Group wants to make sure that the people who live, work or study in the King’s Cross area are involved and benefit from its re-development.  We support regeneration of the King’s Cross Railway Lands and we aim to work constructively with the Councils and developers to make this a genuinely inclusive and sustainable development.  We are the only independent community group dedicated to this issue for over 18 years.

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Our response to the redevelopment plans for Kings Cross:

Argent, the developers of King’s Cross Central, submitted their planning application in May 2004. While we welcome some parts of the Argent application, we believe that overall it is not acceptable for this area, and it must be fundamentally revised - or rejected in its present form.

What we would like to see at King's Cross:

 
  • More social housing and more family housing - Central London needs more housing, particularly for families, to meet social need and reduce commuting
  • Less office space - we would like to reduce commuting into an already busy area and to ensure that the area doesn’t become deserted in the evenings and at weekends
  • Fewer tall buildings - the scale of the buildings is just too big and would dwarf historic buildings in the area and block local views
  • More space for small and medium-sized organisations - these types of organisations are more likely to employ local people and would help to retain some of King‘s Cross current character
  • More employment for local people - local people need more education and training opportunities now to allow them to apply for jobs in the new development - employing local people also reduces the number commuting into the area
  • Redevelopment, not demolition, of historic buildings - Argent plan to demolish some listed buildings and historic features on the site, which could be developed to preserve the character of the area
  • “Public” space open to everyone - streets in the re-development need to be public highways that everyone can use
  • More green space - the park Argent want to build is simply too small and they want to take land from Camley Street Natural Park to build a new bridge
  • More community facilities and amenities - there is no mention of the community centres, schools or cultural and leisure facilities from which we could all benefit
  • Azero energy’ development which is well designed and maintained – one which will not use more energy than it produces and which will not contribute to global warming
  • More community involvement in the implementation of the scheme - Argent need to involve the people who already live, work or study here in every stage of the redevelopment
  • Investment in community owned and managed assets through a development trust – This is a key component of a sustainable development capable of integrating the existing with the ‘new’ communities being created
  • More clarity and detail in the application - we need to have more information and to be sure that there is firm regulation of the redevelopment so the developer is not handed a ‘postdated blank cheque’

If you’d like to find out more or get involved, please contact us. Join our campaign. As a community we are so much stronger if we work together.

 

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