As tall buildings spring up in the King’s Cross development, and work begins on Camden’s new town hall there, it is worth turning some attention back to plans for the site next to the existing town hall.
Local group, Friends of Argyle Square have been leading a campaign to restrict the height of any new building to not exceed the current nine-storey 1970s “eggbox”. This has involved getting stuck into an impenetrable but important document called the Site allocations development plan, which had set height restrictions (among other things) for several sites in Camden, but not for this most sensitive of spots, opposite St Pancras station.
The group made submissions to a government-appointed inspector at a series of examination hearings earlier this year. As a result of their efforts, Camden council has now added the key phrase:
“In view of these constraints and considerations a tall building is likely to be unacceptable in this location.”
(See page five of this download).
To seal the deal on this and other changes in the document, it must once again go out for public consultation. Thanks must go to everyone that commented on this document last year, but you are encouraged to reinforce your views again so that they can be finally taken into account and form planning policy.
Could the stipulations be tighter, has there been anything missed? Has “tall building” been adequately defined? Make yourself heard by Friday 26 April. View the background papers and details for commenting.
The campaigners were concerned from discussions at the hearings that the council is vague about what constitutes a tall building and would not rule out considering a 16-storey building for the site. They want the words “no taller than the current building” in the amendments.
Credit is due to FoAS for their forensic persistence. They have themselves expressed their gratitude to charity Planning Aid for London and have also been supported by the St Pancras Chambers Residents Association.
In the end, whatever is built on the town hall annexe site must respect the cluster of grand listed buildings which include St Pancras and King’s Cross, as well as the soon to be reopened Great Northern Hotel.