The Government Office for London announced the secretary of state's decision not to 'call in' the planning decision in a letter to the council on 24 April 2006. The secretary of state reviewed the planning application for the King's Cross main site and the Listed Building Consents (LBC) for full or part demolition of four listed buildings.
Peter Bishop, director for culture and environment, Camden LBC, said:
'King's Cross is the largest and most complex planning application that this borough has ever seen. Five years of consultation with local residents, businesses and interest groups has been carried out to help shape the future of King's Cross and, with these decisions by the secretary of state, Camden Council is committed to moving ahead with the King's Cross redevelopment scheme.'
Camden LBC and Argent will meet in the coming months to finalise the Section 106 agreement. Once this has been signed, Argent can proceed to put in planning applications for 'reserved matters' such as the design of buildings. Work could then start on site in late 2007 after the opening of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
As with all major London development planning applications, Camden Council's decision to grant planning permission was also referred to the Mayor of London. The Mayor of London gave his backing to the redevelopment of King's Cross Central on 24 March 2006.
A Section 106 agreement is a legal agreement under Section 106 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act between a planning authority (the council) and a developer, that ensure that certain extra works related to a development e.g. community facilities are undertaken.
The 'King's Cross Central' land, owned and controlled by London and Continental Railways and Exel, will become available for development with the completion of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link works by the end of 2007. The King's Cross 'Main Site' (64.5 acres) falls within the London Borough of Camden and the 'Triangle Site' (just over 2.5 acres) falls within the London Borough of Camden and the London Borough of Islington.
Argent submitted its original planning application at the end of May 2004. Following an extensive consultation and negotiations with Camden and Islington councils, the amended planning application was submitted in September 2005. After this, the final stage of consultation was carried out between October - November 2005. The two councils agreed a joint King's Cross Opportunity Area Planning and Development Brief in January 2004, giving detailed guidance about what the councils want to see included in the future development of the area.
The redevelopment will include:
- An estimated 25,000 jobs with training schemes to allow local people to compete for them
- Over 1900 new homes, more than 40 per cent of which will be affordable, the highest for a development in London, and up to 650 units of student accommodation
- New community, sports, leisure and retail facilities, including: a pre-school children's centre and nursery; play facilities; primary school; two health care centres; leisure centre with 25m swimming pool; indoor sports hall; multi use games area; community centre, employment and training centres
- Three new green public spaces, plus new landscaped squares and streets, forming almost 40 per cent of the site
- The protection and enhancement of the area's unique architectural heritage, including restoring landmark buildings such as the No. 8 Gasholder, the Gasholder Triplet, the Granary, and the South Stanley Building, to new uses
- Environmentally sustainable considerations such as a public bicycle interchange and storage spaces; energy efficient building design and use of renewable energy, including scope for using wind turbines, solar panels and intelligent lighting; conserved and enhanced habitats along the canal and additional ones on green roofs. Shopping and entertainment areas up to 45,900 sqm and new business and employment floorspace up to 455,500 sqm