Local community resume fight against King's Cross redevelopment plans

Mark mark at tlio.org.uk
Mon Sep 18 09:57:55 BST 2006

King’s Cross plans face threat of court challenge

Legal battle looms if Town Hall stands by £2bn redevelopment

Taken from the Islington Tribune

Friday 15th September 2006
By Richard Osley

Lawyers representing opponents of the £2 billion plans to redevelop King’s
Cross Railway Lands have told the Town Hall: “Look again at the plans or
we’ll see you in court”.

The first shots in a legal battle that could end up in a full-blown
judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice were fired on Friday

Letters were sent to Camden Council Chief Executive Moira Gibb explaining
that, if the redevelopment was not reconsidered, protesters would push for
a High Court review.

John Dunkley, from Earth Rights solicitors, has warned the council that it
may not have properly considered “fundamental” issues surrounding the
proposed development.

His legal letter claims:
- The council could have bargained for more affordable housing on the site
and did not need to give up on a 50% target
- Planners have not protected listed buildings which now face the bulldozer
- Air quality targets have not been met
- Camden has not justified its approval of the large amount of office
space in the accepted scheme.

In a split-vote in March, in the then New Labour-run council, councillors
gave permission to developer Argent to press ahead with its blueprint for
the expanse of land behind King’s Cross and St Pancras stations.

Effectively, a preclude to a judicial review which ultimately could force
the council to rehear the applications, the new action has been taken by
the King’s Cross Think Again coalition, a partnership made up of
campaigners from Camden and Islington and  including King’s Cross Railway
Lands Group, Cally Rail Group and King’s Cross Conservation Area Advisory

Camden must now deal with the complaints or face the prospect of defending
itself in court. There are implications for Islington Council too, since
any changes could reopen the decision it took in April on the triangle
development section of the site.

Campaign spokesman Michael Edwards said: “We’ve taken our campaign to
community festivals and into the streets throughout the summer. Local
people have been telling us load and clear that they want the council to
look at these plans again and agree a development which will bring real
regeneration to King’s Cross. And they’ve been giving us money to help
cover our legal costs.”

“The decision pushed through in march has serious flaws and on the advice
we now have, councillors need to reconsider the whole application.”

A council press official defended the Town hall’s position. He said:
“We’ve worked extremely hard to ensure the planning process has been
carried out absolutely correctly. We have set the highest standards during
this process for its technical accuracy, professional assessment and
carried out an extensive consultation. We will respond to this pre-action
as necessary.”

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