Fears over new plans for Victorian warehouses
Developers want to demolish buildings by canal and replace them with office blocks that could plunge homes into darkness
29 November, 2019 — By Calum Fraser
HOMES are set to be plunged into darkness despite residents battling for years to keep a controversial redevelopment of Victorian warehouses at bay.
Developers Regent’s Wharf Unit Trust (RWUT) want to demolish buildings and rebuild part four-, part six-storey office blocks next to Regent’s Canal in King’s Cross.
A coalition of residents, conservationists and councillors have vehemently opposed the scheme since it was first proposed in 2017 over fears it would overshadow their homes. The planning inspectorate quashed the application earlier this year, sparking scenes of celebration.
But RWUT has been accused of attempting to push through a fresh application during the busy Christmas period after new plans were submitted this week, with a deadline for comments on December 22.
“Basically the enhancements to the plans do not go far enough,” Ian Shacklock, chairman of the Friends of Regent’s Canal group, said.
“On the subject of light loss, the standard for London is that a dwelling window losing more than 20 per cent daylight is ‘unacceptable harm’.
“So far we have identified 26 windows that will lose more than 20 per cent of daylight and eight of them will lose more than 40 per cent of daylight.”
He added: “The timing of this application is highly inconvenient. We are right in the middle of the most important election since 1945, so our stakeholders are very distracted and the current deadline for comments is in the height of the Christmas season. So there is a risk that this plan will not get the scrutiny it warrants.”
The development will still rise to similar heights as before but architects have snipped off bits of the building here and there and rolled back plans for dormer windows.
Islington Council rejected the initial application in 2018 saying that the “height, massing and proximity to nearby residential properties would result in unacceptable harm” to nearby residents.
The Islington Society and Islington History and Archaeology Society had backed residents in their opposition to the old scheme. It is understood that conservationist groups are considering the new scheme and will take their lead from residents.
The RWUT did not respond to a request to comment.