Threats of King’s Cross’s Regeneration – What can WE do?

The following was received from one of our neighbours who lives in Regent's Quarter.  He has been very active in fighting to improve the King's Cross area, so please see what he has to say on this important subject.

Dear neighbours,

You may have noticed the significant increase in people living on the streets in and around King's Cross and the York Way area in particular.  This raises two challenges:

1) Ensuring these people get the help they need
2) The impact on an area that's in the early stages of a fragile regeneration

Peeing The picture of the guy peeing is just one of the many daily concerns. This was yesterday and drove people away who were eating lunch outside.  Lornena, the general manager of the Premier Inn, is having to deal with concerns that are effecting their guests and business.

These issues can be complex and emotive and are not helped by the many agencies that straddle King's Cross: Camden local police, Islington local police, British Transport police, The Met police and both Camden and Islington councils – the joy of living on the border of Camden and Isington!

What can be done?  More than you may think…

We have already alerted the local police teams and Lorena and I have requested a meeting with our local councillor. We'll keep you posted…

We have established that it's the responsibility of the police to engage with the homeless or people with drug / alcohol issues and liaise with the appropriate agencies. They can only do this if they are made aware of concerns – this is often NOT happening, hence the situation escalates.

If you've been to Gare Du Nord, you'll know how bad it can get.

What can you do?

Report any people living on the streets or other anti social behaviour to 0300 123 1212

This is the non emergency police number and NOT the local team for Islington. We have found the local team to rarely answer calls and are limited in the area they cover. We have been advised to actively report rough sleeping etc to ensure that agencies can build up a picture of what is happening.

It can be difficult reporting this type of issue but unless we do the people living on the streets and the impression of our area will not be helped.

Hoping for your support,

Sean Murray
Regent Quarter

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6 Responses to Threats of King’s Cross’s Regeneration – What can WE do?

  1. Albert Beale says:

    Albert Beale
    5 Caledonian Road
    Kings Cross
    London N.1.
    (020-7278 4474)

    I saw this post and had to think twice what was meant by “Regent Quarter” – and then I remembered that’s the estate-agent-speak/”developer”-speak for (part of) the Bravingtons Block, where I’ve worked since the ’70s.

    No-one I know who’s lived or worked around here since before the “development” has ever called this block by its newly-invented nonsensical name. Can we please call it what all the locals have called it for generations, and not give credence to up-market rebranding invented for profiteering purposes by property companies?

    No 5 Caledonian Road was one of the buildings which refused to sell out to property “developers” 20-odd years ago. Even if some of the people in the buildings around us think they’re in the Regent Quarter, would they please just use the term for the bits bought up by whichever property company, and continue to use the pre-existing name for the block as a whole. We at No 5 are still in the Bravingtons Block, we’re no part of the Regent Quarter.

    Sorry – end of rant.

    Albert Beale

  2. Sean Murray says:

    Albert, I live in Regent Quarter – that is the address we have been given. You’ll see I referred to the area effected as ‘King’s Cross and around York Way in particular’. This is not about a problem in Regent Quarter but a problem that effects King’s Cross. Oh, I have also lived in KX for over 5 years and worked around here for nearly 20. We an call the area whatever you want – the concerns remain the same.

  3. Andrew says:

    I was interested to find out where “Bravingtons” came from, a quick Google search and I think it was because there was a jewellers in the area around 1830 started by Thomas Bravington (

    It also looks as if the Bravington’s Jewellers sold the buildings they owned as a part of the redevelopment (in this page….….”Site sold in prime location opposite Kings Cross railway station on behalf of Bravingtons Jewellers to UK Real Estate.”).

    Perhaps the area should now be “Nando’s Block”! 🙂

  4. Emily V says:

    I live in the Regency Quarter too and very happily so. Places change and time moves on. No place can stay the same despite it’s history. It is terrible people have to love in this way. They need support and we should think of others.

  5. Albert Beale says:

    Albert Beale (again)

    Well – I’m glad to have stirred discussion.

    As to the history – yes, the name is because of the Bravingtons ownership, and their major store being here for generations. During at least 40 years of discussions of the “development” schemes in the area the various blocks involved were always referred to by their known names. For example, the Lighthouse Block for the triangular site south of Pentonville Road (on the Camden side of the line), and the Bravingtons Block for the southernmost of the blocks alongside the station.

    The block I’m in was still being referred to as the Bravingtons Block all though the buying and selling and planning arguments, until pretty much the last moment, just a few years ago, when the property company or estate agents decided to try to overwrite generations of history and invent a spurious new name for their development – as people like that often do. They certainly didn’t ask the people already here what we thought. Names of places are generally something meaningful, which grow up over time, and not an arbitrary imposition by people motivated by nothing but their own greed.

    Obviously the owners of the new buildings in the block can call their buildings whatever they want, individually or collectively – but they can’t rename the block as a whole. And certainly the name “Regent Quarter” is no part of the address of the block itself.

    I’m pleased that some of you who live in some of the homes in this block are interested in the history of the area. Did you know, for instance, that there nearly weren’t any homes here at all? In the 1980s, when property companies first started buying up and consolidating ownership of buildings in this block (and adjacent blocks), they were doing so with the aim of knocking it all down to build office towers next to the station. They, for example, bought up the buildings on each side of us, and behind us, here at 5 Cale Road, and told us that we were in the way of their nice new office scheme; they told us that we were surrounded by people who _had_ sold, and that we should name our price and go away too – they no doubt even told us that “places change and time moves on”. But – luckily for those of you who now enjoy living here – we refused their offers on the grounds that the existing Kings Cross community (of which we were and are a part) didn’t want to see the existing homes and shops and pubs razed to the ground to build swish offices.

    Later, after the current (less destructive, and more human-scale) scheme was agreed in outline, after years of struggle by many people in the area, the “developers” again tried to banish residential units from the scheme. They didn’t want any residential space put back into the parts of the block they owned: they thought the “development potential” – ie their profitability – would be better served by having only commercial premises in the refurbished/rebuilt parts of the Bravingtons Block, with whatever residential space the council insisted on being included in the overall scheme being exiled up as far as Wharfedale Road. Again, those of us already here – and other locals – fought for ages to keep the mixed use of these blocks, and the elected councillors eventually overruled the council officers and insisted on housing units as part of the scheme in the Bravingtons Block – hence the existence of the homes in which some of you are able to live today. (Maybe it was as punishment for this that the property company tried to rename our block behind our backs…)

    (Everything apart from that last comment is completely serious.)


  6. Sophie Talbot says:

    Wow Albert, thanks so much for posting this up… You really should become an author on this site so that your highly informative posts that put local current affairs into historical perspective appear on the main site rather than being tucked away in comments… Please, please consider writing for the site on the local issues that are of interest and importance to you…. Sophie Talbot

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