Kings Cross is in yet another a state of flux, Kings Cross is always in a state of flux. It's great to capture snapshots as the area changes over time. Leah DIxon sent in this piece about her part of Kings Cross around Brittania Street. She writes powerfully from her perspective about the reality of the benefits of regeneration, a lack of facilities and living close to the sex and pub and club trade.
I'd like to start a series of 'Kings Cross Perspectives' – people's views of their patch in their own words. If you have a perspective on Kings Cross drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
Over to Leah:
'I wanted to write about the state of affairs in my patch of Kings Cross. Having been brought up in Camden I was aware even as a young child that Kings Cross was a no go area full of prostitutes and drug addicts. Apologies of those of you who lived there then and don't feel this is fair but thats what it seemed like when we passed through.
'I moved to this part of Camden 6 years ago with, what I thought, was the knowledge that Kings Cross was now an up and coming area. I thought it would be a safe place to bring up my child. I now feel that was the wrong decision. I wanted to prove all the people who looked at me in shock when I said I live in Kings Cross wrong. I wanted to be proud of what the area had to offer, like Camley Street, 1KX and the library. I tried to ignore the absence of any trees, bushes or flowers on my street and the deaf ears of the council to make a positive difference to the lives of residents. I've certainly tried to ignore the sirens, the pollution, the drunken revellers and the bass from the Scala on a saturday night. I can't, however, ignore the blatant sex workers, drug addicts, street drinkers and beggars that are constantly increasing day by day.
'I have been in touch with the local police and safer neighbourhood teams 3 times just this week. I'm complaining to them about incidences taking place at 10am, 12pm, 3pm. They are telling me its worse at night!! They seem to think the increase is because they've been concentrating on the fall out of the riots. I don't care why, I care about keeping my 13 year old daughter safe. She walks to school every day past the car park on our street where the police have informed me, through CCTV footage, that sex work, drug taking, graffitti and urination are taking place every day (ok more at night!!). The evidence is also there with used needles and condoms lying discarded.
'How can I stay in this area any longer? Who benefits from the regeneration of Kings Cross? All I see is more bars and clubs (where sex workers are targeting drunken men for their trade according to police) to keep the professionals and students happy, boutique shops and hotels for tourists, take away food (so people in this area can continue to be the unhealthiest in Camden) which contributes to huge amounts of litter on the street.
'Where are the facilities local people need? Do I wait until 2015 to get a tree on my street, for the Euro car park owners to redesign their car park to ensure sex workers and drug addicts aren't able to use it as their own private playground? Do I wait for my daughter to see something beyond her years?
'No. I think despite her loving her Islington Secondary, the youth centre at Corams and her best friend up the road I won't wait. Like many before me I think it is either time to take some action or leave for good.
'I have attached a photo of the car park on my street.