‘A great result’ as planners reject Wharf development
Campaigners’ victory in battle over canalside Victorian warehouses
08 December, 2017 — By Emily Finch
Campaigners outside the planning meeting which threw out proposals for Regent’s Wharf that would have blocked light from homes
CAMPAIGNERS who fought the redevelopment of Victorian warehouses near King’s Cross were celebrating on Tuesday night when the Town Hall unanimously rejected the plans.
Whooping and applause greeted the councillors’ vote against controversial proposals for Regent’s Wharf which would have seen warehouses and three office buildings redeveloped to feature new workspaces alongside retail units and courtyards.
Residents in a nearby block of flats, Ice Wharf, and on a Peabody estate in adjacent All Saints Street feared the development would substantially block light from their homes.
“It turns out that every single Ice Wharf south window, all 36, fails in the light test and some of them fail ‘doubly’ so,” said Councillor Paul Convery, who represents Caledonian ward, where the development is based.
How the redeveloped Wharf would have looked
“At the Peabody-managed social housing, which has been there for about 20 years, on the ground floor every single window measured will fail the light test, nearly all of them ‘doubly’ so.”
Light tests are calculations used by planners to determine the impact a new building will have on the surrounding area.
“This [the plan] has been presented to us as a balance, with benefits and adverse impacts. I think the adverse impacts are very, very profound and significant,” said Cllr Convery at the planning committee meeting.
But Christopher Cope, a partner at Grafton Advisors, the property firm behind the development, defended his company’s plans.
He told the meeting: “The challenge we faced with Regent’s Wharf was to take an inward-looking, inefficient site with no relationship to the neighbouring streets and canal – and which has been closed to the public – and to design something that will transform all of this.”
He added: “There will be the creation of 1,450 jobs, more than the current 620 on-site, all located in a single office ecosystem.”
Resident Hilary Norris, who lives opposite the proposed redevelopment, told the packed-out meeting: “I would like to highlight the harm to residents. There have been 150 objections to this scheme, including nine from amenity organisations concerned with architecture, heritage or the canal.
“They all object on grounds of overdevelopment, excessive height of the development and harm to the historic buildings, contrary to the conservation area guidance.”
Speaking after the meeting, Ice Wharf resident Charles Manson described it as a “great result”. He added: “The councillors showed they had actually done the hard work in looking at the project.”