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RHWL replaces Rolfe Judd on King's Cross masterplan

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P&O Developments, owner of derelict land and buildings near London's King's Cross station, has chosen RHWL to masterplan the area - replacing Rolfe Judd, whose plans were heavily criticised by Islington council (AJ 1.3.01).

RHWL will be re-examining the plans for the four city blocks and designing a new hotel and office block for the site with the aim of submitting a new application to Islington by September. Rolfe Judd will continue working on a number of buildings. 'We've brought RHWL in to strengthen the team and hopefully bring in fresh ideas, ' P&O director Gary Brooks said. 'We're looking at ways of improving the mix and design of the scheme.'

Designers will be going back to basic principles, adding more housing, revisiting the pedestrian routes through the area and looking to maximise the number of buildings which can be retained. The site forms a conservation area and Islington objected to the number of buildings which Rolfe Judd proposed pulling down. Planners hope to regenerate the area with shops and restaurants. 'We're still trying to piece together different bits of the puzzle, ' said RHWL partner Peter Shaw. 'A lot of people obviously want us to move as fast as possible.'

At present the brief calls for nearly 50,000m 2ofnew and refurbished accommodation. The new buildings are likely to be of only five or six storeys because the height of King's Cross station cannot be exceeded.

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