The independent London newspaper

Conservationists to fight plans for research labs tower

Building opposite King’s Cross station is currently home to a storage firm and a branch of McDonald’s

19 June, 2020 — By Dan Carrier

How the new building could look

PLANS for a new 10-storey glass and steel complex opposite King’s Cross station would clash with the area’s Victorian heritage, say objecting conservationists.

Council officials in neighbouring Camden will be asked to grant building consent for the overhaul of Belgrove House, currently home to a storage firm and a branch of McDonald’s.

New high-tech labs, which will include facilities for researchers working on vaccines, are proposed for the site.

Developers the Precis Group, which own Access Self Storage, say they are consulting on a design which would create a landmark building and open up 1,000 new jobs.

Opponents, however, say the location is in one of the most historically sensitive in London – facing the Grade I-listed facades of both King’s Cross and St Pancras stations.

The Bloomsbury conservation area advisory committee (BCAAC) has already written to the Town Hall with a raft of objections even though a formal planning application has yet to be submitted.

Hugh Cullum, the committee’s chair, said: “The Euston Road frontage faces some of the country’s most iconic buildings. The site is almost entirely surrounding by Grade I- and II-listed buildings.”

The developers say the block will be used for life science research.

Other features include 33 new socially rented homes built at a separate site nearby, a new step-free entrance into King’s Cross tube station, a shop and a ground-floor auditorium for public use.

Architect Steve Smith, whose firm were responsible for the nearby HQ of internet giant Google, said the height of the building matched others along Euston Road in scale and height, and dropped down levels to match housing in nearby Argyle Square.

He added: “At the moment, it is a slightly disappointing frontage and it deserves something much better.”


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