Anyone fancy more accomodation for temporary surjourners to Kings Cross?

From Kings Cross Resident Ariane Schick.

Britannia Street Parking Lot (planning application 2013/0592/P)

On 17 May 2013 I received a planning application consultation from Camden Council concerning a plot of land between 13 Britannia Street and 146 Wicklow Street, just south of Kings Cross (map – street view). The plot of land is currently used as a parking lot. Although I think a change of use on the plot, currently looking quite derelict, is a good thing, upon reading the proposal I quickly realised this proposal was far from a change for the better.

The plot is set within the Kings Cross/St Pancras Conservation area (adopted in December 2003) and the proposal is for, among other things a Class C1 hotel (a hotel or hostel where not significant element of care is provided). The initial proposal includes the demolition of a period boundary brick wall and period vent shaft inside a conservation area.

ANOTHER TALL BUILDING PROPOSAL: The highest building on the street at present is five floors, the proposal is for a seven storey building. This height will not respect the architectural harmony of the street. The proposal describes a “part two, part three and part five, six and seven story” which sounds complicated and not in keeping with the architectural integrity of the neighbourhood and street.

The proposal of a class C1 hotel will most likely become a youth hostel, the building will surely not focus on quality or architectural merit and I believe will harm what is at present a beautiful balanced street with real personality and character.

The proposal of the a building as high as seven storeys will not only have a very negative impact on the aesthetics of the area but also heavily impact the quality of life for the residents, radically reducing even blocking sunlight and causing a real loss of privacy for many inhabitants.

HOW MANY MORE? The Kings Cross neighbourhood has a disproportionate number of hotels, this is particularly true in the area around Britannia/Wicklow Street. In close proximity to the proposed C1 hotel there are already a vast number of hotels, including two of the biggest youth hostels in London; Clink and Travel Lodge, who both have two sites in the close by. A certain number of hotels and hostels can be a good thing for commerce for example but more hostels is not a business that needs further encouragement in the area. Yet another hotel in an already saturated area simply pushes the neighbourhood into becoming a mere place of transit for tourists rather than a real community of permanent residents.

In sum South Kings Cross is a densely populated area with a lot of human and car traffic and few parks. I think that rather than the plot of land being allocated to build yet another class C1 hostel the council should push for this plot of land to be turned into a much needed park or community allotment. I have noticed that aside for the space being used as a car park, local residents already use this land as a park of sorts, walking their dogs for example, this strengthens my belief not only that there is a need for a small green area on that plot.

PLEASE HELP TAKING ACTION: If you feel you might be affected by this planning application or feel motivated by the idea of supporting the creation of another green area in the Kings Cross area, please feel free to contact our FaceBook community page – called “Britannia/Wicklow Street Plot” it can be found at https://www.facebook.com/BritanniaWicklowStreetPlot?fref=ts

I will be adding photos and maps etc. as well as details on the planning application.

Also you can leave some comments here which I will pick up and respond to!

Ariane Schick

William adds – the consultation ends on 7 June 2013 – you can give your views to the council at this link

About Daniel Zylbersztajn

Daniel Zylbersztajn, is since 2012 correspondent to the German independent left of centre daily newspaper taz, die Tageszeitung and Jüdische Allgemeine, and a Pilates Teacher. Born in Germany but also raised in Holland and Israel, he is a long term resident of London Kings Cross (first in 1991), involved parent, local and social activist, and positive lifestyle advocate. He also held posts in research, and conflict work, a.o. for the Palestinian - Israeli peace village Wahat al Salam ~ Neve Shalom. He holds a BA in history and politics from SOAS and two Master degrees, in Urban Sociology (Goldsmiths) and Sports Coaching (Brunel). He is founding and committee member of Coram's Fields User Group, the parent and community voice of Central London's biggest and oldest children playground and was its first spokesperson and chair. Daniel tweets under @zylbersztajn
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10 Responses to Anyone fancy more accomodation for temporary surjourners to Kings Cross?

  1. Stephan says:

    I would be happy to support a campaign to request that this application be rejected. I agree that KX already has too much “hostel like” accommodation which does little to improve and enhance the area. The new developments of St. Pancras International with the Renaissance Hotel, Regent’s Quarter, KX Central and even the re-generation of King’s Cross station have done much to improve KX as a destination location. We must not allow these quality projects to be subverted by more inexpensive hotels.

    I would suggest you develop a email list of supporters and a write-in campaign directed at the Camden Planning Department, Please publish the name and email address of the Planning Officer and the application number as well as the online link to the Camden Planning department to Object.

  2. mclm says:

    The link to Wicklow Street brings up a map of Dublin

  3. Ariane says:

    Hello Stephan,

    Thank you for your support !

    So far I have been in contact with supporters of the rejection of this application/supporters of the possibility of a park on this lot via FaceBook –

    https://www.facebook.com/BritanniaWicklowStreetPlot . If you are on FB would you like to “lik” the page so we can then be in contact through the page ?

    This is the first time I am taking this kind of action so thank you very much for your suggestions ! By write-in campaign do you mean the proposition of the park even through it did not appear in the consultation?

    To have your views heard on the online planning consultation :

    http://planningrecords.camden.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer17/GeneralSearch.aspx

    To do so : click on the link and put in application No. 2013/0592/P then once in the page click on the application no. that is blue then click on the “Add comments” here section.

    Another option is to call Jonathan Markwell the planner in charge of the application at the moment his number is : 02079742453

    Thank you !
    Ariane

  4. arianeschick says:

    Hello Stephan,

    Thank you for your support !

    So far I have been in contact with supporters of the rejection of this application/supporters of the possibility of a park on this lot via FaceBook –

    https://www.facebook.com/BritanniaWicklowStreetPlot . If you are on FB would you like to “like” the page so we can then be in contact through the page ?

    This is the first time I am taking this kind of action so thank you very much for your suggestions ! By write-in campaign do you mean the proposition of the park even through it did not appear in the consultation?

    To have your views heard on the online planning consultation :

    http://planningrecords.camden.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer17/GeneralSearch.aspx

    To do so : click on the link and put in application No. 2013/0592/P then once in the page click on the application no. that is blue then click on the “Add comments” here section.

    Another option is to call Jonathan Markwell – the planner in charge of the application at the moment his number is : 02079742453

    Thank you !
    Ariane

    • Stephan says:

      Ariane,
      I am not a fan of Facebook so should you wish to discuss this matter in more depth, I would suggest using my regular email address: Stephan@yorkcentral.co.uk

      As I have run a few “protest” campaigns over the years in KX (I live on York Way, just next to King’s Place), I would suggest what I feel to be the most important aspects of such a campaign:

      1. Written individual objections have the most weight – not petitions. They should be directed to the Planning Department officer. While they can be done thru the comments form that you mentioned, all objections should also be directed to your local Camden councillor, so it is important to find out their email address and copy them so they understand the depth of community sentiment. By the way, I have created a direct link to the on-line form: http://tinyurl.com/op7jf8u – if you put it in your browser address bar it should take you right to the comments page for this application.

      2. There are specific grounds underwhich objections are considered. Height and mass of proposed structures, buildings out of context with the area, or not being consistent with a “conservation area” (don’t know if this applies to your area.

      In the past, my method was develop a mailing list of supporters and those to whom i wanted to influence. Next prepare a list of objections that folks could use in their own individual messages (direct email to the planning officer with copies to coucillors or actual formal letters), group attendence at the planning meeting. Volume is imperative to get the council’s attention – remember you all represent VOTES!!!!

      Hope this all helps…

      Stephan Schulte
      York Central (but note I am now living in France)

  5. Darren B says:

    Adriane

    I’m the Chairman of the Derby Lodge Residents Association so please feel free to contact me. I live on Wicklow Street and have only just seen the letter too. Several residents have complained already, but in light of the devious tactics used to push through the recent UCL property, we do need to pull together all resources.

    Regards

    Darren

  6. Geoff says:

    Ariane,

    You are living on a different planet if you believe that any land-owner in their right mind would turn a property such as the one you describe into a park. Not even the Council would consider such a move!

    Your original post suggested that you hadn’t even looked at the plans before you had formed an opinion and made your ‘call to arms’. Why not make that your first action. Then you’ve half a chance of forming an opinion based on fact.

    You need a reality check.

    Geoff

  7. arianeschick says:

    Hello Geoff,
    Thank you for your answer.
    When I spoke to Jonathan Markwell the planning officer in charge of this planning application e told me that, although very very rare it did happen that the Council could ask private land owners to turn plots into green spaces. I too was surprised by this as I didn’t know it was in the Council’s power to do this ! I also think it’s great that they can 🙂 The commission that decides this apparently only comes together every 10-15 years and the last one was in 2010. So indeed you are right in thinking that it is a very long shot – although perhaps not reality check worthy ? I don’t work in local government so I’m not sure how much they take individual citizens into account…but I thought it was worth voicing my opinion/vision.
    In any case, my approach when writing the text was to express what I would like to see happen rather than solely focus on the negative or the oppositional side or feature a call to arms of some kind, not to mention that if the commission only get together so rarely it would be better to start voicing a preference for a park sooner rather than later.
    Is it the idea of a park you don’t like ? What would you like to see happen ?
    I wrote the text for the blog the day we got sent the consultation and so yes the additional documentation that was only added a few days after this was not yet up. But now that it is and I have been through them my opinions havn’t changed. If anything some of the documents, notably those indicating a loss of light for neighborhood inhabitants, although coming as no surprise, only serve to convince me that this is, in my mind, a terrible project. Other information provided by the documents such as the particular brand of hostel being Tune rather than Travel Lodge or Clink don’t change a lot as there is also a Tune right near the location of the plot of land…The fact that there will be some housing built as well, was in the consultation application so no surprise, but the fact that these will all be directly situated over the rail tracks (the most vibrations and noise), again I am not surprised by this. Some of the other documents include consultation responses, for the moment all in opposition to the project, that bring up points and new arguments as to why this is a bad, ill thought out project that I hadn’t even thought of ! Where there some documents in particular that you are referencing that you recommend I look at more carefully ?
    Many thanks for your time in interest in the plot.
    Ariane

  8. I left my reservations to the council. I think the height and the unchallenging suggestion of an average budget hotel are not good enough. There are two criteria that are of upmost importance for this area. Any innovation that contributes to lessen the temporarity of the residents and increases permanent residents. Any project or building that makes an outstanding contribution to counter the very bad pollution levels in the area to existing residents both working or living. On the latter a park would in deed make great sense, but the council probably would be worried on loss of potential income. In that sense a park if it were to be must be combined with an innovative vision, such new markets on several day for example a farmers market, a new vinyl record market,.flower market. If there is to be a building again it needs to be of outstanding environmental standards in all regards, better even have integrated features that benefit the community. Given the population increase anything like a leisure centre, a school Primary or Secondary, a museum, a cycle drop in work shop or DIY drop in like the award winning Cycle Kitchen in Hoxton would be a huge asset. Failing that any building or business that increases either the ecological or the community cohesion aspects in this part of Kings Cross. I’d even go along with a hotel, if it has huge ecological aspects and centres hugely around community enhancement (this could include that event rooms are bookable by the local community at very low costs for what ever need may be). Given the huge investments on the other side of Pentonville Road / Euston Rd there is immense need for visionary planning here too, rather than just filling the gaps with any crap or bid that comes along! Camden council where is your vision? Is it just about getting maximal bids to boost your accounts? This is understandable but, is it good enough? There are literally 100 of ways of thinking progressively, but I’d ask everyone involved in planning in our area to do exactly that: think outside the box and innovate progressively, ecologically, and community friendly whilst by all means also fulfil the need to gain from new developments financially!

  9. Pingback: 13 Britannia Road Full Planning Permission Refused | Kings Cross Environment

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