Major Development just north of our area. 3-6 Spring Place

We do not send out details to members or post here all planning matters, but this is a big issue.

Some people may have seen this week’s CNJ, which had a full page article about the Spring Place development.  In case you missed it, this is the proposed development of the Addison Lee garage site, where the proposal is for a (mainly) 6 storey office building which holds a very dominant position at the north end of our area. 

 A number of you have contacted us with concerns, and we have now written to the developer.  In general, people support the development of the site for office use (with an emphasis on co-working), particularly as we have recently lost so many office buildings to residential development because of this government’s changes to panning law allowing automatic change of use. 

Some aspects of the plans are very good, but there are very real concerns about the height and appearance of the building (largely metal clad, with a saw tooth roof line and a huge blank grey wall facing our area).

We have therefore written to the CNJ to correct the impression that IARA is fully behind the scheme, and hope to continue our dialogue with the developer and the architects before they submit a formal planning application.  

and you can see the plans at  www.3-6springplace.co.uk

D & D

OUR EMAIL TO THE DEVELOPER:

Thank you for putting on the site visit, presentation and exhibitions for the above proposed development.  It is good that you are consulting at the pre planning application stage, and we hope that all feedback will be taken seriously and will influence the final design before it is submitted for approval.

A number of our members either attended the presentation or subsequently viewed the exhibition, in person or via the website.  There is general agreement that we welcome the development of a commercial building on this site, and find the co-working concept attractive.  We hope that this will give local people the opportunity to rent space at a reasonable rate, and for the community to benefit from some shared facilities.  In particular, we would very much welcome access to meeting rooms, and public access to the proposed cafe and roof terrace.  Most people who have commented like many aspects of the internal layout, including the treatment of the railway arches.
 
However, a number of our members have expressed concerns, as below.
 
1.  The height of the building.  We accept that there is a 7 storey building the other side of the railway line. However, the footprint of this building is small and it does not dominate in the way that the proposed large building at 3-6 will do.  This will be highly visible from the upper floors of residential buildings nearby, and sets an alarming precedent for likely future developments even nearer to the Inkerman Conservation Area (eg the Veolia depot).  We would like to see the height reduced – ideally by two storeys.
 
2.  The blank south wall.  You have explained that this has been left deliberately blank (apart from some notional blank “windows”) in case the adjoining Autograph site is at some point redeveloped.  However, you have also told us that Camden planners have no knowledge of any such plans.  In its present form, this blank wall will loom over the neighbourhood and we can see no reason why, as well as being reduced in height, it should not have some windows (as well as some planting, as suggested at the presentation).
 
3.  The building materials.  At the presentation it was explained that the design tries to pay its respects to the nearby conservation area while introducing commercial elements.  The presenters showed some slides of good, local commercial buildings which they said they admired – Spring Studios, CFBL, 55 Grafton Road.  It is striking that all of these are built in a simple style, mainly using London stocks.  From most angles the striking impression of the proposed building at 3 – 6 Spring Place is of metal, used to create an angular building, partly grey and partly bronze.  We cannot really see the connection to the conservation area, and would like the use of these materials reviewed.
OUR EMAIL TO THE CNJ:
We are writing in response to the story in last week’s CNJ about the proposed development of a large site in Spring Place, Kentish Town. In particular, your article suggests that the Inkerman Area Residents Association supports the proposals.  In fact, our Association is in the process of collating feedback from our members, who live in the streets just to the south of the development site, and we have recently written to developers to express a number of concerns.
 
Generally, our members are enthusiastic about the proposal to develop this site as an office building, and the concept of co-working is attractive. We are keen to keep a mix of residential and commercial development in our part of Kentish Town, and this will go some way to compensating for the recent loss of office and studio space which has arisen because of changes to the planning laws.  
 
However, this is a large site and the proposed scale and design of the building is, in the view of a number of local residents, inappropriate. Your article mentions that the proposed building is lower than the small social housing block just the other side of the railway lines. However, there is not really much comparison between the two sites.  The footprint of the flats is small; that of the new building is very large.  The current plans include a very large, blank wall dominating the streetscape from the south and rising to 6 storeys.  This will be highly visible from many local addresses – many of which will look out onto a high, metal facade.  Your article says that this metal cladding “borrows its language from the industrial feel of buildings in the northern end of Spring Place”.  In fact, the northern end of Spring Place consists of terraced housing and the nearest commercial building to the north of the development is the very fine, brick built, Spring Studios.
 
We are very pleased that this site is to be developed, and we welcome the fact that the developers are consulting the local community.  We very much hope that they will be listening to feedback.