At the meeting on 9 December the architect David Morley described the housing planned for ‘the triangle site’, which is split between Islington and Camden where York Way used to lie. The plans have progressed since the meeting mentioned in the annual review report; in particular, the brickwork is now less oppressively dark.
Housing (with some shops and a shops and a café) bounds two sides of the triangle, and an ecology area and a recreation centre bound the third. The site is cut off by the road and the railways to the east, north and west. However, the garden between the blocks might attract people from outside, as long as it remains publicly accessible. Plans for the garden, the ecology area and the recreation centre have yet to be developed fully, but some details of the housing are in the minutes of the meeting.
After discussion under any other business, the Forum decided to submit an objection to the main planning application for the Coal Drops. The Victorian Society and the Islington Society had already done so; subsequently Save, the Camden Civic Society and the Regent’s Canal Conservation Advisory Committee did so, too. A common theme of the objections is the planned extra floor with a massive new roof that destroys some original fabric and obscures the original purpose. The discussion that prompted the objection by the Forum is summarised in the minutes of the meeting.
The meeting was also the annual review meeting, where the annual review report was tabled; its sections on transport provision and health care provision included, unusually, briefings by external contributors from King’s Cross Estate Management, Camden Planning and Camden and Islington Public Health.
When the planning application for the Coal Drops was discussed by the Camden Development Control Committee (on 17 December), the six organisations that objected to it had no opportunity to speak (because they had asked to do so thirty minutes too late) and the chair, Councillor Heather Johnson, insisted that other discussions could be postponed until future meetings but this one could not (although the objectors had asked for postponement). In the circumstances it is perhaps not surprising that only one member of the Committee, Councillor Roger Freeman, appeared to have read the objections and to question the need for the extra floor and the appearance of the new roof. The web cast of the discussion is here; the planning application papers and objections are here. The Times (on 30 December) quoted Argent as saying that it tried to listen “where people had valid points”.
The next meeting of the Forum will be on Wednesday 16 March.
At its next meeting, on 9 December, the Forum will have:
- A description of the housing planned for Zone W (‘the triangle site’), which is split between Islington and Camden along the former route of York Way.
- A review of the past year.
- A discussion of the intentions for next year.
- The election of the officers for next year.
The meeting is from 7:00 to 9:00 on Wednesday 9 December in Committee Room 1 of Camden Town Hall. All are welcome to this (and every other) meeting of the Forum.
At the most recent meeting, on 30 September, Ben Addy of Moxon Architects described the plans for the Camley Street Bridge, which rises on a ramp through the Natural Park before crossing the Regent’s Canal. It is a clear simple structure, distantly related to the Greenwich Reach Bridge (the swing foot bridge by the same architects, shown alongside), which is greatly appreciated.
Before the discussion of the Camley Street Bridge, Robert Evans of Argent explained the Argent position on the reduction in social and affordable housing in King’s Cross Central, and answered questions from Councillor Siân Berry and others. In brief, the sums available to housing associations have been cut drastically by the government, the costs to Argent of development have risen, and extra money made available by replacing some of the planned social and affordable housing by open market housing (at ever-rising prices) will help to subsidise the remainder.
Some details are in the minutes of the meeting.
The next meeting, on Wednesday 9 December, will be the annual review meeting.
At the next meeting of the Forum, on 30 September, first Robert Evans of Argent and Councillor Siân Berry will give their views of the obligations on Argent to provide affordable and social housing. Then Ben Addy of Moxon Architects will present the plans for the bridge for pedestrians and cyclists across the Camley Street Natural Park and the Regent’s Canal.
The meeting is from 7:00 to 9:00 on Wednesday 30 September in Committee Room 1 of Camden Town Hall. All are welcome to this (and every other) meeting of the Forum.
At the meeting on 8 July Heatherwick Studio outlined the aim for the Coal Drops, which formerly served for shifting coal from trains to carts (as illustrated in the two sections alongside). The hope is to transform the site into a shopping centre unlike any other in London, with varied shops, while preserving some of the industrial feel of the original buildings and the corresponding viaducts.
However, the site might become might be too expensive for small craft and design workshops, and the accommodation would be enlarged to incorporate a large single floor store. This large single floor would cover an area between the two buildings, rising up from those buildings in a curved form foreign to functional industrial design. You can read some of the comments about it in the minutes of the meeting.
The next meeting is at 7:00 on Wednesday 30 September in Committee Room 1 of Camden Town Hall. All are welcome to this (and every other) meeting of the Forum.