Institute of Physics comes to Balfe Street and the Cally Road in 2015

imageIf seems that finally, concrete proposals are emerging for the troubled site at the apex of Balfe Street and Cally Road.  It’s been a hoarded-up abused dump since TG Lynes plumbers moved out donkey’s years ago. The Institute of Physics (an academic charity/trade body for physics) last year bought the freehold to the site that bridges Cally and Balfe (see their pic above). And are working on plans with architects Tate Hindle, who do decent commercial stuff it seems.  IoP have a mini-site in their website that they are using to share news (though there isn’t much interesting there yet). I have been slow picking this up and am grateful to local resident Cabe for the flyer above.

Cally Councillors have also commented

‘IoP has begun discussions with Islington Council to modify the current building. Cally Councillors now have a copy of the proposals which mainly involve an additional storey on the main building. At their public consultation on 19th May further details should be available.’

IoP are workshopping with their members – however their members clearly haven’t come across Islington’s renowned heritage planners who I doubt will let a PV panel or green roof anywhere near the conservation area – it’s Welsh slate or bust.  There may well be rights of light issues if rooflines are altered as the development is to the South of a set of properties with windows facing inwards to a courtyard.  It seems there is a local consultation with residents on 19 May – helpful to share any details.  I haven’t checked yet to see if the buildings are listed.  Will be interesting to see what if any community benefit IoP offer.

IoP like many bodies of that sort run an events service as part of their trade so this should increase night time footfall, which is usually good for local security.  I can’t imagine it being too rumbustious as it turns out.

‘The Institute’s chief executive, Paul Hardaker, said: “The building is about being a centre for the physics community to come together, so we want to design it with the right usability of space to facilitate that. We would like to have a modern conferencing and business suite with a large exhibition space where we can showcase collaborations with science, industry and the arts and humanities community, and a space where we can engage with newly incubated businesses.’

I expect the B@1 cocktail bar on the corner will will soon ring with classic lines like ‘Never trust atoms – they make up everything’ as physicists let their hair down.  There may be an increase in taxi drop offs I guess, but they will quickly learn it’s best to abandon a cab before the one way system.

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.
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9 Responses to Institute of Physics comes to Balfe Street and the Cally Road in 2015

  1. “IoP like many bodies of that sort run an events service as part of their trade so this should increase night time footfall, which is usually good for local security. I can’t imagine it being too rumbustious as it turns out.” Well, hopefully it will be nothing like the Flying Scotsman that is near the corner of the Cally and Pentonville Road and should have been closed down years ago, if only for allowing its patrons to crowd the streets late at night, to say nothing of what goes on inside. When we had an office opposite, the police were there almost nightly.

  2. This is a good development, much better than another fast food joint or estate agent. I don’t think the Flying Scotsman case is relevant here. Although some famous physicists were Scots, i don’t think they flew.

  3. Lynne says:

    The mystery of the unexplained excavating that was going on for years is finally solved. Tunnelling down to the Circle Line for use as a Large Hadron Collider. How exciting!

  4. Albert Beale says:

    From: Albert Beale, 5 Cally Road

    Well, well – in my capacity as a former physics teacher, I think this is wonderful news. Some of my happiest times in my student days were spent in the company of rumbustious physicists…

    Certainly better as office and event/meeting space use rather than another bar! (Though I still want a good greengrocer at our end of Cally Road.) But they’d better not have bought it on the assumption that they can mess about with the height or facade of the building very much.

    NB – what’s with that comment re the Flying Scotsman, “to say nothing of what goes on inside”?? I have to say that, as someone opposite them, then providing whatever happens _is_ contained inside, I don’t mind what they get up to. And the outside disturbance from the FS is actually rather less than that from some other premises around here that might superficially appear to be “nicer”.

    Albert

  5. The main changes proposed are: (a) an additional storey added to the Balfe Street side which will change the existing facade quite significantly; (b) an additional storey on the main Caledonian Road block which may affect light and be visually distinctive viewed from Cally Rd; (c) the shop units on Caledonian Rd would be amalgamted. So, on the face of it, something of a challenge to conservation policy.

  6. Sarah Ward says:

    I was interested to note that from the leaflet that the building design seems to take advantage of their northerly view into Battlebridge Communal Garden. It will be very interesting to see just how overlooked the garden will be by the new building as I’m sure local residents who use that space will have an opinion!

    • Cabe says:

      Sarah I’ve just realised you are the Chair of the garden – I hope you will get a chance to look at the 3D model to see both the height and nature of the proposed building. I think it is fair to say that the print leaflet underplayed the profile a bit!

  7. I attended the consultation event last night – the new building really does feel like a substantial change to the area, especially those who (like us) live on Balfe Street and my suddenly feel like a building from Canary Wharf has been dropped in alongside their back gardens. The addition of the extra storey looks as though it will cut off all sunlight to our garden for most of the year, and having office workers – sorry, office physicists – able to peer down into our top floor bedroom may leave us feeling more exposed than a Higgs boson at CERN. So, while of course I would be glad to see the site put to good use, I hope this is a consultation in more than name, and that the plans will be adjusted to take into account the impact of a much bigger, more active, transparent office building on the local residents.

  8. Andrew says:

    In theory I think it would be a great addition to the neighbourhood – increasing diversity of use (admittedly it is office space – but with an indication of public events focusing on science – which would be unique for the area). Also understand the concerns of impacted neighbours, so I am hoping the concerns are listened to and a compromise can be reached.

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