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A planning challenge at St Pancras

Rochester Conservation Area’s response to Camden Council’s consultation document ‘Canalside to Camley Street‘.

The Council

  • should protect Camden Town as a conservation area
  • wrongly includes Camden Town development sites
  • lacks attention to the cycle entry points
  • needs to promote walking on the Canal towpath without cycling
  • should promote improvements to use of the railways to benefit Camden Road station as a transport hub;
  • gives little attention to local service provision, particularly GPs and a health centre for east Camden.

There are further significant issues within the site – the excess heights implied (and illustrated in the document); inadequate road connectivity eg with Camden New Town; not fully reflecting Camley Street Neighbourhood Forum Plan’s concerns for food businesses; potential ‘canyon’ effect along the Canal and St Pancras Way.

The consultation document doesn’t recognise the identity and distinctiveness of Camden Town.

And the task of conservation compared with commercial land development is more challenging when the Council is both the land owner and also gains more income the larger the development. The response gives an example of a previous planning application, on Pratt Street / Royal College Street / Georgiana Street / St Pancras Way, with evident conflict of interests.

It has been welcome, therefore, that the Camden conservation committees’ coordinating group and the Council’s planning department are in discussion about the government’s new White Paper on planning. This is a significant moment to extend Camden’s conservation areas to their heritage boundaries.