We are now quite a few years into the redevelopment of the Kings Cross area and a great many things have improved immensely. Streets have been cleaned up, houses restored, shops, bars and businesses invigorated, but anyone who lives at the southern end of Caledonian Road will be aware of one glaring anomaly – the former TG Lynes building.
The building has been boarded up and in the process of ‘redevelopment’ for over five years and, peeking through the hoarding, seems no closer to completion than it ever has been. It’s huge ugly frontage blights the look and feel of this local shopping area and it’s stubborn refusal to metamorphosise from its grey, tattered shell into a useful shop/restaurant/business/anything is surely holding back further improvements to this section of Caledonian Road.
Residents have watched with curiosity, amusement, indifference, irritation and finally a growing sense of anger as activity at the site becomes ever more protracted and bizarre.
Huge (and I mean huge) quantities of earth and rubble have been removed from the basement in the last five years. Sometimes it comes out on a makeshift belt cobbled together and slung at head height over the pavement, emptying into a skip parked on the (red route) road, sometimes by gangs of men with wheelbarrows and shovels. Cars and pedestrians alike regularly have to swerve around the various skips, vehicles and make-do building equipment and underneath rubble chutes left blocking the area, and still the digging continues.
Large holes, and last December, four random windows, have been punched through the rear exterior wall, straight into the communal garden which sits directly behind it. This wall is the original C19 boundary wall and until that point had never had any holes in it, especially not ones then filled with cheap single glazed windows of random and varying sizes. These holes were used to pump building dust and bits of rubble directly into the communal garden behind the wall, contaminating the garden and residents with brick dust for many weeks. This is, no doubt, a Health & Safety violation and presumably the builders thought it was more acceptable to contaminate the garden than pump the dust into the street, which might have attracted more attention. These holes were then crudely filled with cement. Complaints were swiftly made by residents but the issue seems to be languishing on the desk of the Planning Department and, TEN months on, nothing has been done. So much for protecting the Keystone Crescent Conservation Area!
Large numbers of York stone street pavers are lifted and badly reset, water drips continually onto the pavement and pedestrians from the upper stories come rain or shine, strange noises are heard day and night, large quantities of building materials, steel beams and occasionally vans are swallowed up into it’s interior. One day, workers spent hours removing reams of paper from the site which were shredded in a van parked on Caledonian Road. The list goes on.
What local residents want to know is; what on earth is going on with this building, when will the redevelopment be completed so Caledonian Road has a chance to continue its regeneration and, is the whole damn lot about fall through on to the Circle line?
Islington Planning Department we are looking at you and asking why we are getting no response to our questions and why no enforcement action has been taken…