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Brindleyplace team in £1bn King's Cross vision

The team behind the highly praised Brindleyplace in Birmingham has reformed to produce a billion-pound-plus,20-year plan for the development of London's King's Cross. Allies and Morrison and Porphyrios Associates have jointly produced this vision for 23.8ha of blighted land north of King's Cross and St Pancras stations.

The plan, for joint developer Argent St George, builds on the work currently taking place on the Channel Tunnel rail link - which includes a terminal building by Foster and Partners and the revamp of King's Cross station by John McAslan + Partners - and is expected to begin in 2006/07.

It retains most of the existing buildings on the site, many of which are listed and which help define the form of the new layout of streets and public spaces. New buildings fit within this skeleton to create a middle-rise, high-density development with a mix of uses both horizontally and vertically.

Porphyrios Associates'director Demetri Porphyrios said that key to the project was to avoid the creation of a gated community, but rather to integrate the development with the rest of the city and encourage visitors and residents from surrounding areas to pass through and use the site.

'The geometry of the site must respond to what is around it, making it part of the city, not separate from it, 'he said.

Allies and Morrison director Bob Allies added that the plan was intentionally fluid at this early stage, establishing the rules behind it while retaining a degree of flexibility about the form and layout of the buildings within it. The character of the existing buildings will determine their logical use, for example the small scale divisions within the Coal Drop building would make it ideally suited to retail use and the larger scale of the Granary building would suggest its use as a museum or other public space.

However, the plan suggests a range of options for both layout and function of the new buildings.

And it also identifies a number of positions outside the sight lines of St Paul's Cathedral, where tall buildings might be appropriate.

Argent St George is now beginning an intensive process of consultation with the local community and the strategic bodies. The local authority, Camden, has welcomed the plan and CABE is understood to be broadly supportive of the principles behind the proposal. And deputy chief executive of Argent David Partridge said the project was an exemplar for the development envisaged by the London Plan.

An outline application will be lodged with Camden council next year.

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