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King's Cross future still very much in the balance

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In response to the article 'King's Cross future under threat' (AJ 2.9.04), the King's Cross development is of enormous importance - not only to Camden but to London as a whole, - and we are very conscious of our responsibilities in this.

We have worked hard for many years with our local communities and with a range of partners, including Network Rail, London Underground, the Greater London Authority, the London Development Agency, Transport for London and the Police to secure a future for King's Cross that is genuinely beneficial, and is of a quality that London, Camden and King's Cross communities deserve.

The council has a number of roles, including as planning development control authority, and all rely on maintaining trust and consistency. This article, therefore, caused me great concern.

The article gave the very strong impression that the chair of Camden's development control subcommittee, Brian Woodrow, and council officers had reached firm (allegedly opposing) views on the applications for the major redevelopment at King's Cross.

The tone of the article and the direct quotes from Woodrow strongly suggested that he had a predetermined view of the applications, in terms of both content and the fact that they included an outline application. Camden fiercely guards its reputation for fair and professional handling of planning matters and that is a very damaging suggestion to make. It may also open the council to challenge on future decisions on the applications.

I have been assured by Woodrow that he has not reached a view on the applications and has been badly misrepresented by the article.

I understand that he has not yet seen any assessments of the applications so is not in a position to know whether it is likely to be favourably considered or not.

Nor in his view is this a matter that the secretary of state should decide by way of an inquiry.

In the same article you stated that 'the scheme has won the support of Camden planners'. This is untrue, as a simple question to any of the planning officers involved in consideration of the scheme would have told you. The position is that the applications have been received and accepted as valid applications. Planners are still assessing the 13 applications and their supporting material before advising members.

This development is a hugely important one for Camden and for London, and it is vital that the council is seen to approach it in a fair and professional manner. I will absolutely ensure that we shall continue to do so.

Jane Roberts, leader, London Borough of Camden

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