Deal set to rake in £20million for Camden Council

CAMDEN Council stands to gain more than £20million by supporting plans for the £2billion King's Cross development, planning officers revealed this week...

Katie Davies

CAMDEN Council stands to gain more than £20million by supporting plans for the £2billion King's Cross development, planning officers revealed this week.

In a report recommending the scheme, officers listed conditions they say should be placed on the developers Argent.

In that list are a number of community facilities Argent will have to pay for, including £1.6million for schools and £1.75million for new public art.

The council said: "Lots of other factors still need to be considered into these figures."

But many have criticised the list for not securing facilities the community really wants.

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Rupert Perry, of the King's Cross conservation area advisory committee, said: "There are calls for a centre for community groups, which hasn't been provided. I don't know if that money should be taken from art but people do want it.

"The important issue is that the development is right for the area.

"When councillors consider the scheme these benefits shouldn't come into it.

"We shouldn't have a second best scheme because the extras are good. They talk about £1million for this, £500,000 for that, but the appearance of the development is what we will be left with."

The report will be discussed by councillors on March 8 and 9.

Many local groups are angry that officers have sided with Argent over issues they have campaigned on such as heritage and housing.

The report approved Argent's proposal to demolish the North Stanley building, the Culross buildings and the old canal walls.

It states: "The inherent qualities of the proposals and the regenerative benefits together outweigh the presumption in favour of retaining these buildings and the harm to the character and appearance of the conservation areas that their loss would entail."

The advisory committee has campaigned to retain these buildings and submitted its own designs incorporating them into the scheme.

Mr Perry added: "This report is not what we want. The council set up the group to give advice. We go into massive detail about what we think then they just carry on as before.

"I hope the councillors see that they can reconsider the heritage aspects, negotiate and get this right."

The report also supports Argent's bid to provide 42 per cent affordable housing on the site despite residents' demands for more and the mayor of London's 50 per cent requirement.

Una Sapietis, of the King's Cross railway lands group, said: "We still feel 50 per cent is needed on such a big site and we don't feel the report fully addressed our responses."

Community groups will be discussing the report on Tuesday at the railway lands group AGM. For further details on the meeting go to their website To see a copy of the report go towww.camden.

o Artist inspired by the King's Cross development - see page 31.



o Argent has been asked to fund a skills and recruitment centre costing £1,950,000

o The firm has also been asked to pay for street repair and alteration works costing £2, 420,000

o The construction training centre set up by Channel Tunnel Rail Link will get £750,000 funding

o A change to bus services to include the development will cost £4,173,000

o Other facilities mentioned for the first time in the report are a new elderly care home and a new police station with a public desk.