Islington Triangle – planning meeting Tueday 1930

Bermuda_triangleThere will be a huge development near Randell’s Road where the railway people currently store building materials near the channel tunnel bridge over the east cost mainline.  A 17 storey building is planned.  A big proportion of the railway lands housing will be on the site. There has been a big barney in the past about the amount of affordable housing in the development.  It is going to a Committee as above at the Barnsbury centre on Offord Road – more info here . Diana Shelley has sent the following on behalf of the Cally Rail Group:

‘When Argent came back earlier this year with a revised proposal, we were pleased to see they had kept the same number of social rented units and increased their size,’ explained Phil Jeffries, co-convenor of the Cally Rail’s technical working group. ‘But they had changed the mix of so-called ‘intermediate’ housing and we believe 44 of these units don’t qualify as affordable housing under current government policy. Instead of having 40% affordable housing in the development, there would in fact be just 18%.’

The dispute hinges on whether Argent’s subsidy should go back to them as profit or be recycled for affordable housing.

‘Argent’s proposals are for short-term loans on these homes. If they are sold, that loan would be recycled for up to 15 years. After that, Argent simply pocket the profit. PPS3 says such subsidies should be recycled permanently into new affordable homes,’ added Phil Jeffries. ‘At a time of increasing housing need in Islington, it is vital that affordable housing stays affordable. Forty percent affordable homes on this development already falls short of what is needed—18% would be disastrous.’

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and South Oxfordshire, founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online and a trustee of The Indigo Trust , Good Things Foundation and ThreeSixtyGiving as well as Connect8.
This entry was posted in Planning, Licensing and Regulation. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Islington Triangle – planning meeting Tueday 1930

  1. Paul Convery says:

    The Planning SubCommittee this evening declined to approve the affordable housing components of the application. Members decided that on three broad grounds, the proposed affordable housing failed to meet Islington’s policies:

    First, the scheme should have delivered at least 50% affordable housing and, at best, it only offered 40%

    Second, the mix of affordable housing should not have exceeded the proportions 60% social rented and 40% “intermediate” (it offered 45% social rented and 55% intermediate).

    Finally, as discussed by Cally Rail Group, the “intermediate” housing did not satisfy the conditions required to include it in the affordable category and therefore the affordable elements would only constitute 18% of the total 200 unit development.

    As a result, the application (which has technically been undergoing a “rolling” decision since April 2006) is refused on the grounds of insufficient affordable housing. It is open to Argent to propose a new mix of affordable housing that meets Islington’s policies or mount an appeal to the planning inspectorate. We will have to wait and see.

  2. FANTASTIC!!!! Applause to all involved in getting this decision made. Onwards and upwards!

  3. Graham Newsome says:

    I have been involved on the Camden Planning brief forum and this is no mean result in the context of Camden’s decisions to date. Well done.

  4. Well done to all involved. Common sense has prevailed (hopefully)!

  5. Hanna Stanbridge says:

    As this is a moderated forum I doubt my comment will be posted as it goes against the authors view.

    However, I am appauled at the decision. Having read through all and I mean all the files at the council offices and seen exactly how the developer evolved his proposals against our councillors requests I am not surprised he has now appealed. Couincillors asked him to reduce the amount of housing by 48 units which he did but only reducting the number of affordable units by 4 but increasing the remaining ones sizes and bringing in much more needed 2 & 3 bed roomed units.

    We have also lost a medical centre, creche, sports centre community hall and numerous other facilities that we in Kings Cross needed.

    I hear that they have now appealled. So whats that mean to us if we now lose. What the person in the planning department at teh council told me is that they are expecting the developer to have costs awarded so that we end up paying for the appeal. Typical.

    When are we going to learn that there a battles worth fighting and there are some where we should just except we have got the best we possibly could. I think we had right up to putting two fingers up at the developer – could we not simply have deferred the decsion and asked them to go back and think again like we have on two previous occasions over the past 3 years rather than challenging them to a fight.

  6. Diana Shelley says:

    First, as chair of the Cally Rail Group which led the objections at the West Area Planning Sub-committee, can I welcome this debate, including, of course, Hanna Stanbridge’s contribution?
    The planning brief for King’s Cross Central, jointly agreed by Camden and Islington, included provision for 200 residential units on the Triangle. Its overall target was for 50% affordable housing.
    By the time the West Area planning sub first considered the application in April 2006, fears were emerging about whether the site was suitable for housing at all, which led to Islington’s own officers drafting a number of conditions relating to noise which must be satisfied before any housing is built. (The site is a small one, next to or near five railway lines and a main road. Aside from known noise impacts, we are still waiting to find out how noisy CTRL and the new Thameslink will be, and Argent could not provide noise predictions which Islington found satisfactory). The April 2006 meeting could have rejected the application outright but chose instead to compromise by insisting on reverting to the 200 units in the planning brief from the 246 proposed. They retained the same amount of floorspace for affordable housing, and we are pleased that Argent decided to abide by that.
    However, well before Argent put in their revised application, government policy on what qualifies as affordable housing changed. The revised application purported to have 40% affordable housing (NB not the 50 policy requires) but in fact, taking account of changed policy, it would be just 18%.
    At a time when affordable housing is a major issue in Islington (and the rest of the country!) it was surely not wrong for Councillors to say this was not good enough. Yes, they could probably have deferred the application again, but Argent would still have had the right to appeal against ‘non-determination’ so it would not have made any practical difference (and by specifying the affordable housing they wanted they have given Argent the opportunity to revise the application without appealing).
    Sadly, the other facilities proposed for the site were not quite what Hanna Stanbridge suggests, since the health and leisure centre would be privately-run facilities, which most people round here won’t be able to afford. No actual community facilities were planned for the site, tho there will be a small facility on the main site.
    Cally Rail Group would much rather Argent did the decent (and cheaper) thing and revised the application to conform to government, London and local policies. I expect most councillors would agree.
    Speaking personally, the last several years, working with others in the community to try and get a good development at King’s Cross which would help real regeneration for our communities, have been exhausting. We do actually assess which battles are worth fighting (who wants even more unpaid work if it’s not worth it?) and in this case believe this is not the best the community ‘possibly could’ get. We’re very pleased that West Area councillors agreed, and voted to uphold planning policies.
    Sorry this is so long–more info on if you want!

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