Gyratory redesign consultation report due next month

King's Cross gyratory systemTransport for London ran a major consultation in February this year to seek opinions on the broad principles they will use to redesign the current hated gyratory. They are aiming to publish the resulting consultation report, which should give us information about who was consulted and what was said, in August. This will be followed early next year by publication of their preferred options and a detailed consultation to finalise these.

Local people have campaigned for decades to get the 1970s throwback gyratory system removed and replaced by a road design that prioritises safety and health whilst adding to the community feel of our area. The gyratory system pushes large amounts of traffic through inappropriate streets as quickly as possible – known as traffic smoothing – which encourages ever more traffic to pollute, endanger and divide us.

We are hopeful that TfL will use an evidence based approach to make radical changes, including making residental streets like Acton, Swinton and Wharfdale Road access only. We’ll be looking for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport to have priority over lorries and private vehicles. And we’ll want to see plans that dramatically reduce the dangerous levels of pollution we currently endure.

We’ll publish details about the consultation report as soon as it becomes available.

Posted in Bad Gyrations KX Campaign, Gyratory consultation 2016, New, Road Safety in Kings Cross | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

HS2 to hit our closest countryside

Perhaps the easiest way to get to the countryside from King’s Cross is to pop out west towards Denham and surrounding area, just a short train journey or 40 minute-ish drive. Sarah, Green, ex-narrowboat resident of Battlebridge Basin, loved it so much she moved there. Now our closest countryside is at risk from the HS2 development and we can help highlight the importance of the area and have a great day out all at the same time.

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A Biodiversity Action Day on Sunday 17th July, meeting near the Little White Bridge north of Denham Deep Lock, has been organised and all are welcome. This is Bridge number 182 on the Grand Union Canal. Get there anytime between 8am and 8pm.  There are masses of dragonflies in the wetlands, fantastic old trees in the woods, a wealth of nature for everyone to see.

Organiser Sarah Green said, “Anyone can join in. Bring your wellies! We want to observe, identify and record as many species as possible, so that HS2 can’t ignore Hillingdon’s wildlife in the Colne Valley.”

Fisherman Bill Stephens, aged 90  said, “This is not even on HS2’s route. This is a land-grab. HS2 is claiming nature reserves and public amenity land, to use for things like heavy vehicle access, depots and removal of spoil and rubble.”

If you can’t get there on the day, you can still help by photographing and lodging records of your plant and wild-life sightings whenever you are in the area. Please let everyone know about the fantastic biodiversity of the Colne Valley.

HS2 would obliterate some of the best loved countryside and wildlife in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Ancient woodland, wetland and meadow would go from Denham Country Park, Frays Valley Nature Reserve, as would some idyllic sections of the Grand Union Canal. See https://www.facebook.com/colne.valley.750 for more information.

Posted in New, Things to do, Wildlife and Nature | Tagged | 1 Comment

Five Guys burgers in Lighthouse Building Kings Cross – good but pricey

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It’s great to see the Lighthouse Building back in use, now with a Five Guys burger joint on the ground floor.  The conversion is light and airy with a more than 180 degree view of the lovely Kings Cross gyratory.

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My first time in a Five guys and I ate a cheeseburger, fries and diet coke which came to a substantial £13.25.  The two-pattie burger was very good though not exceptional, the cheese was better than average, the bun ok.  The diet coke was admix self service.

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The fries were partly excellent, tasting distinctly and pleasantly of potato, which says a lot about other high street fries.

IMG_3929 They proudly display where the spuds came from.  Although i was surprised to see what I can only describe as lots of black bits in the chips which suggests they aren’t being prepared properly with the finnicky work of taking out the black lumps from the raw spud.

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The muzac was very loud (much louder than anything else locally) and eclectic – ranging from Walk the Line to Venus.

Overall it was a pleasant burger and good fries but felt a bit expensive – though I may be being unfair on fresh ingredients and location.

Posted in Food and Drink, New | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Suez/SITA waste management keeps dumping skips on Randell’s Road

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Senior management at Suez (formerly known as SITA) seem unable to control their own workers as they fail to stop rogue staff from using Randell’s Road as a waste transfer station.  Suez/SITA drivers have been repeatedly dumping their skips overnight on Randell’s Road then picking them up in the morning. A local resident says:

‘every night a lorry arrives on Randell’s Road and dumps a large SITA skip on the road in front of the tool hire place. Then at 3am or so another lorry picks it up. Both lorries make lots of noise with loud beeping and the skip hydraulic manoeuvre is very noisy. We can be woken in the night by the collecting lorry.’

When another resident challenged one of the drivers he was reportedly threatened with violence.  Residents have raised this with the Suez/SITA Chief Executive, David Palmer-Jones (@dpj_suezuk) on 12 June

‘My neighbours and I are irritated that every evening a lorry arrives in our street near King’s Cross Station in Randell’s Road and dumps a SITA skip. Then, at about 3am or 4am another lorry picks it up. (The location where the skip is dumped is outside Tool Hire Express, 67 Randells Road, London, N1 0DH.) ‘

A prompt phone call from SITA/SUEZ suggested that ‘They are meant to take the empty thing to Barking. It is a contract with Network Rail.’ but on 15 June residents wrote back to Suez/SITA that the skips were still being dumped.  David Palmer-Jones has delegated it to a colleague Trevor, who writes on 15 June:

Many apologies that this practice has not ceased.

I have instructed the branch manager at Barking to get the drivers to sign a form stating that if this happens again it will result in a disciplinary process.

Could you forward me the picture of the registration that you had and the date so that I can follow up the threatening behaviour that you mentioned.

If you have any more issues please let me know,

Yet on 16 June, the SUEZ/SITA drivers have this evening dumped another skip – the lorry with the white cab in the photo.  In my opinion making this sort of noise at night that disturbs residents when carrying on a business is a statutory nuisance and therefore a crime upon which the council can act.  It is also my opinion that this is a form of fly tipping as the skip is not a road vehicle and it is being abandoned.  The best remedy for the council would be to prevent the skip being collected (a simple bicycle shackle lock on the lifting mechanism) and then scrap it.  Or just not invite Suez to tender the next time a waste contract comes up.

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Children at Kings Cross: New independent grassroots user group for the betterment of Coram’s Fields

Come and join us on Sunday the 19th. of  June 2016, 17.45

 

Fellow parents and carers of the wider Kings Cross and Bloomsbury area have worked for eight months to set up a user group of interested stakeholders (e.g. parents, children, neighbours and others) to have a voice on the experience and future of Coram’s Fields.

After some critique emerged on various points of how Coram’s Fields  developed over the last few years, there was much desire by parents consulted to set up an independent, constructive and accountable user forum. Its purpose should be the  engagement with  the management and board of the trust of  London’s biggest children playground, Coram’s Fields (and Hamsworth Memorial Trust).

By adding our voice on a regular and consistent basis, we are hoping to be able to help Coram’s Fields become not only the  biggest but also the best and most important kids play ground. Nothing is more important than the opinions of the actual people who use the grounds and we are hoping that with the user group in place, that nothing stops the growth of the grounds as one that is true to its mission, a haven for play of our children.

We already had good meetings with the management and trust who support the idea.

We have our inaugural meeting this coming Sunday 19th. of June 2016, and what’s more there is a talk on Creative Play Outdoors.

As a new group we very much depend on the initiative,  goodwill and time of interested parents and carers. So if Coram’s is a place your kids use, do join us on Sunday 17.45 at Guide Hall Coram’s Fields.

Daniel Zylbersztajn

(founding member and interim chair)

https://cfugblog.wordpress.com/

 

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Posted in New, Young People | 1 Comment

Visit a beautiful local garden in the National Gardens Scheme

From 2pm to 6pm on Sunday 5 June 2016 Mike Jackson (of the film ‘Pride‘ fame) will once again open his small plantsman’s garden to the public at 1 Battlebridge Court as part of the Barnsbury Group.

Mike's garden

Mike’s stunning garden maximises sun and shade with peat block terracing up to the canal basin. This is a challenging spot but Mike is a Kew trained horticulturalist with over 40 years experience whose expertise shines through in his choices.

Highly recommended for a visit. Click here for more information.

Posted in King's Cross People, New, Noticeboard, Things to do | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Camden Mela

This year the King’s Cross – Brunswick Neighbourhood Association will be holding the Camden Mela on Sunday 17th July 2016 at Corams Fields, 93 Guilford Street, London WC1n 1DN.

This is always a very popular family event which showcases the richness of the British Asian culture  There is always a wonderful mix of music, food and fantastic stalls.

Camden Mela 17 July 2016. For more details and stall bookings contact Nasim Ali nasim.ali@kcbna.org.uk

For more information and stall bookings contact Nasim Ali.

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community groups, Community stuff, Food and Drink, New, Noticeboard, Things to do | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Will the transparency law help us get to know our Kings Cross neighbours? #anticorruption

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There’s a large number of properties in old and new Kings Cross owned by offshore companies. In one building alone, the Arthouse 33 flats owned by companies in exotic locations many with high opacity about their true ownership.  At the anti corruption summit today the government says:

The PM will announce today that foreign companies that own property in the UK will be forced to make public who really owns them.

Any foreign company that wants to buy UK property or bid for central government contracts here will have to join a new public register of beneficial ownership information before they can do so. This will be the first register of its kind anywhere in the world.

Crucially, it will include companies who already own property in the UK, not just those wishing to buy. Foreign companies own around 100,000 properties in England and Wales. Over 44,000 of these are in London.

The new register for foreign companies will mean corrupt individuals and countries will no longer be able to move, launder and hide illicit funds through London’s property market, and will not benefit from our public funds.

This is very welcome (subject to my caveats below) and it will be fascinating to see what impact this has on behaviours.  Will there be a sudden flight of capital as people dump London investment properties over the next year or so before the law comes in.  Or will the opposite happen and with a friendly face to a property we can invite them around for tea, to meetings, to get involved in the local community.  I once lived next to a hostel building in Kings Cross that was very noisy and its true ‘beneficial’ owners elusive – the company was registered in the British Virgin Islands – and neither I nor the council had a way of engaging with the people who ran it to help the building be a better neighbour.

I’d like to offer up the Arthouse building in Kings Cross as a canary in the coal mine – if the law works we shall know who is the beneficial owner of each of the companies on this 2014 list (from HM Land Registry/Private Eye) if they still own property there when the law comes into force.   My presumption is that the people involved with these companies have done nothing wrong and I welcome knowing who our neighbours are. However, if For Sale boards suddenly go up the journalists at the Guardian who have done so much work on transparency will be able to see them from their office window and investigate the impact of the new rules.

The Prime Minister has also said:

‘we will legislate this year to hold companies who fail to stop their employees facilitating tax evasion criminally liable.’

But and it’s a big but the UK courts and law makers have always had huge trouble working out who is responsible for a company’s behaviour. And where crimes may have been committed, pinning charges on the executives.  This website led a long campaign to hold a company (Transport for London) to account for the death of a cyclist on a junction on which their own engineers had warned them in writing that casualties were ‘inevitable’.  In long discussion with experts, the police etc we realised the ineffectiveness of corporate manslaughter laws in large organisations.  The concepts used in law just don’t work in large bureaucracies where blame is diffuse or can be made to appear so – the Corporate Manslaughter Act is widely recognised to be almost useless, except with very small companies.  Similarly fraud convictions in the UK are few and far between.

So the challenge for the government’s noble endeavor is to learn from past experience and produce a workable law that can pin charges on companies in a way that counts.  And to fight off the huge hordes of lobbyists from the financial services and legal industries who will try to subvert it.

Posted in Anti Social Behaviour, Kings Cross N1C, railwayslands | Tagged | 1 Comment