Battle of King’s Cross is set for court showdown

DEVELOPERS Argent and Camden Council have hit back at a campaign group going to court over £2billion plans to redevelop King's Cross

Katie Davies

DEVELOPERS Argent and Camden Council have hit back at a campaign group going to court over £2billion plans to redevelop King's Cross.

Papers were served at the High Court last week calling for a judicial review of the council's approval of Argent's plans.

But the council and Argent have dismissed the claims of the rebel King's Cross Railway Land's Group (KXRLG), which lodged the papers.

Roger Madelin, joint chief executive of Argent, said: "We are disappointed with this decision by a small, vocal group of people.

"Argent and its partners have spent seven years working and consulting on this scheme, talking to thousands of people about the vision and benefits King's Cross Central will bring to the area.

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"We have received approval for the development at local, regional and national level and we have the resounding support of English Heritage."

The judicial review is expected to be heard in the next three months.

Camden planning chiefs have previously said a court hearing will delay the development and could stop King's Cross being ready for the Olympics - when it will be used as a media base and transport link for the games.

A spokeswoman for Camden Council said: "Our lawyers are currently drafting a response to the claim and their view remains that the decisions taken by Development Control (Town Hall planners) are legally sound and that the claim will not succeed."

The legal action is the culmination of years of debate. Campaigners claim Argent's scheme has too many offices, not enough houses and will create pollution in the area.

However, in court KXLRG will focus on how the plans were granted full planning permission in March.

When a new administration took over the Town Hall, new councillors wanted to reassess the decision but were prevented by council officers.

Campaigners now say this prevention was unlawful.

Their letter to the court said: "KXRLG has campaigned for many years for the redevelopment of King's Cross to contain a greater range of employment uses and opportunities than was proposed by the applications; for more affordable housing and more social rented housing; for greater use of renewable energy and green technologies; and to conserve the more historically significant buildings in the area."

The group is an umbrella organisation representing a number of smaller groups which sprung up in reaction to early plans to develop King's Cross.

And lawyers have already made it clear they believe they are backing the winners with Leigh Day offering to work on a no win, no fee basis.