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King's Cross future under threat

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The backers of the massive King's Cross regeneration plan were left reeling this week after Brian Woodrow, the chairman of Camden's planning committee, launched a searing attack on the planning application.

Woodrow condemned the design of the project, drawn up by Allies and Morrison in collaboration with Demetri Porphyrios, and attacked the decision to submit the scheme as an outline planning application.

'We don't want to end up with something that resembles the Paddington Basin, with these massive 19-storey blocks overshadowing the Regent's Canal towpath, ' he said.

'A lot of the bulk and style of the buildings proposed are not the sort of things we are interested in for this kind of site.' If the scheme, which was drawn up for developer Argent St George, is given the green light it will include the mixed-use regeneration of a massive 27ha site north of King's Cross and St Pancras stations over a four-year period.

However, Woodrow insisted that he could only see problems ahead for the project because the application has been submitted in outline form alone.

'A large part of the southern area of this scheme falls within a conservation area and there is no way we should have to make a decision based on just an outline application, ' he said.

'What we don't want is for it to come to us for a final decision in this current form because we would probably turn it down, and that would annoy the developer.

'But what is true is that if they choose to stick to a scheme this size, then we will have to leave it for the secretary of state to decide, ' Woodrow added.

But the scheme has won the support of Camden planners, and Argent chief executive Roger Madelin maintained that the project is continuing apace.

'Almost everyone we have spoken to in our extensive consultation period has been pleased with, and sympathetic to, the project that we have drawn up, ' he said.

'It would just be nice to talk to Mr Woodrow face to face to explain to him what it is we are trying to achieve, ' Madelin added.

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