On Wednesday 20th March a crowd gathered in the foyer of Argent’s brand new offices just off Granary Square in the heart of King’s Cross, ready to find out more about one of the most exciting regeneration projects currently underway in Central London.
The tour began with a brief introduction from tour organiser Tom Murray Willis, who handed over to Allies and Morrison Director Jason Syrett for the first presentation.
Jason is an architect who has been working on the King’s Cross project for the past five years, and has developed a deep understanding of the site. He guided the audience through the process of creating the masterplan, and emphasized the importance of the site’s heritage to this process. The result was a “jelly mould” of sensibly laid out and well connected spaces that give the site structure whilst allowing future room for manoeuvre.
Next to present was Bethany Arbery from the London Borough of Camden, who was part of the planning team that worked on the scheme from pre application stage through to negotiating a Section 106 agreement with forty heads of terms. She explained the process by which the Local Authority could provide a framework that gave them the confidence to know clearly what would be provided, but still left room for flexibility and change in the scheme where appropriate in the future.
Alex Woolmore, Senior Projects Director at Argent gave the final presentation of the evening. She used images to show how various plots have been developed, demonstrating a range of uses. These include a residential block of which the ground floor is occupied by a school, and several temporary uses such as The Kerb which hosts local food markets. Amazingly, 100% of heat and 80% of power will be generated onsite beneath one of the buildings.
Having been provided with the context and background information the tour proceeded out into the cold to explore the site. Certain areas are close to completion; construction traffic is routed via tunnels to prevent disruption. The walking tour allowed breaks for questions where they were relevant, and some interesting points were raised which led to more in depth discussions about certain aspects of the development. We are very grateful to our hosts and tour guides for showing us round one of the most interesting developments in London and one which is widely recognised as an excellent example of place-making.
The first RTPI London tour of 2013 proved popular by selling out within 12 hours. Watch this space, and book early to avoid disappointment.
The speakers’ excellent presentations may be viewed via the links below