Queen’s Crescent market is a piece of 19th century street, sandwiched between the residential estates of Gospel Oak and West Kentish Town. When the Victorian terraced houses to the north and south of the market were demolished in the 1970s, the street frontage was consciously retained. Having been a local shopping street since 1870, Queen’s Crescent remains a place of special significance with a strong identity that bonds together the areas to the north and south of it- like the jam in a sponge cake- to form a single neighbourhood.
However, Queen’s Crescent is not well connected to the local street network- the principal shopping street runs east west between Malden Road and Grafton Road and is easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there. This makes the whole area feel disconnected from the surrounding neighbourhoods. To improve the fortune of Gospel Oak and West Kentish Town, better connections with surrounding areas need to be made: east to Kentish Town, west to Chalk Farm and Belsize Park, north to the Heath and south to Camden, and beyond. This would help integrate the neighbourhood with the larger conurbation of north London, and bring social and economic benefits to the area.
Local authorities have the ability to achieve integration through planning- providing better movement, permeability and accessibility. A proposal to re-create the connection from Queen’s Crescent to Kentish Town through the Regis Road industrial estate is already being proposed in the emerging Kentish Town planning framework. More thought is needed about Gospel Oak and West Kentish Town: at the west end of the market, for example, the continuation of Queen’s Crescent across Malden Road leading towards Chalk Farm could be made more legible and easy to use.
Malden Road looking north
In the 19th century trams ran along Malden Road
Queen’s Crescent leads towards Chalk Farm- better crossings across Malden Road are needed for pedestrians and cyclists, and the entrance needs to be made more welcoming.
Location of the zebra crossing in 1985, leading into Queen’s Crescent
The entrance to Queens Crescent in the 19th century was less cluttered
The east end of Queen’s Crescent- a possible connection to Kentish Town via the Regis Road industrial estate
Within the neighbourhood much can be done to improve routes for pedestrians, making it easier to move around. For example, of a north-south link between Lismore Circus and Talacre would help open up the area further and benefit locals. Existing pathways and informal routes could be redesigned and reconfigured where necessary to be more generous and safer to use. If West Kentish Town estate is rebuilt a more direct route could be opened up from Queen’s Crescent to Talacre .
The existing pedestrian route from Weedington Road to Talacre Road
The pedestrian route to Lismore Circus could be opened up to provide better views through, link spaces and improve permeability.