The proposed Kentish Town Framework Plan currently being developed by Camden Council proposes a direct link between Kentish Town tube station and Queens Crescent, via the east end of Queen’s Crescent (shown in Connecting Queen’s Crescent). It is good that both the needs and attractions of Queen’s Crescent are being acknowledged, and an effort being made to improve connections to west Kentish Town and Gospel Oak.
The Framework Plan is necessary to guide the redevelopment of Kentish Town’s old railway lands- the Regis Road Industrial estate and adjoining Murphy site. This development will be similar in scale to the new Kings Cross, and will inevitably have a large impact on Kentish Town. There are various connection points via which the impact of the new development will be felt by West Kentish Towners.
KENTISH TOWN CITY FARM
It is proposed that the farm will have a new connection to the Regis Road area through an arch in the railway viaduct. This would mean that residents of the new housing in this area could benefit from direct access to the farm, and the farm could attract more visitors from Kentish Town. It is also suggested in the report that the farm would become part of a secondary route from Kentish Town to the Gospel Oak, although there is little consideration of the negative impact that this may have. There is a proposal for a new public space on the opposite side of the railway arches from the current sheep field, that the farm could open into. The draft framework suggests that Kentish Town City farm could be involved in many activities on the Regis Road site.
The Framework envisages more active use of the railway viaducts. This will need careful consideration of people living and playing immediately adjacent to the viaduct.
The existing railway bridge at the end of Arctic Street would be opened up to provide a access to the Regis Road area. This is in a similar location to the pedestrian link that existed several years ago, which made life so much easier for access to Kentish Town. The memory of this handy route gives a hint of what more could be achieved if redevelopment follows the plan, with easy access for West Kentish Towners to a myriad of opportunities for work and leisure, including a bridge connection to the Murphy site linking a series of new cultural spaces, with a new linear parkland leading to Hampstead Heath.
HOLMES ROAD AND GRAFTON ROAD
The southern end of the development site will be accessible from Holmes Road and Spring Place, and will link to the existing commercial cluster in this area. The railway bridge over Grafton Road becomes a gateway joining the new development area with West Kentish Town. The redevelopment of west Kentish Town estate will hopefully include a significant increase in quantity of workspace in this area, and improve economic opportunity for local people.
The Kentish Town Planning Framework calls for a certain number of homes to be provided on the Murphy site (750no.) and the Regis Road site (1,250no.). These numbers have led to the developer of the Murphy site to propose 20 storey towers to the east of Oak Village, as there are restrictions on locating homes elsewhere. This shows a lack of respect to residents of Hemminway Close and Meru Close, and a lack of care regards the impact on Kentish Town City Farm. The housing target for the Murphy site set by Camden must be reduced.
STRATEGIC PLAN FOR HAVERSTOCK AND GOSPEL OAK
The Kentish Town Planning Framework needs to address the impact of development on neighbouring West Kentish Town and Gospel Oak- this is not discussed in the document. Residents have been calling for a strategic plan for Haverstock and Gospel Oak, but this has not been forthcoming. The absence of a plan puts West Kentish Town at risk of negative impacts from the development of Kentish Town Framework area and the redevelopment of West Kentish Town redevelopment, a double whammy with no overall control exerted by planning.