Kentish Town regeneration: What should be built on biggest opportunity site in Camden?

Industrial estate around Regis Road is set for a major overhaul

Thursday, 8th November 2018 — By Dan Carrier

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Roger Winfield and Henry Hirzberg from the Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum in Regis Road

A GIANT development of up to 1,300 new homes and a raft of new businesses could be built in Kentish Town.

The Town Hall has begun asking for opinions on what should be permitted in a revamp of the industrial estate in Regis Road, which is currently used by firms and Camden Council’s recycling centre.

A six-week consultation survey is underway ahead of what could be the biggest opportunity site in the borough since the redevelopment of the King’s Cross railway lands. The site, which snakes up behind the high street in Kentish Town and along the railway tracks, has been identified as a “key growth area” by Camden Council.

Labour councillor Danny Beales, the Town Hall’s regeneration chief, told the New Journal: “It is currently under-used, low-density industrial space, owned by a range of landowners. A comprehensive redevelopment could create a new, well-connected neighbourhood, delivering new homes, including much-needed, genuinely affordable homes, new green space and jobs.  “By creating a framework, any development would have to refer to it.”

The land is owned by 12 different firms, and the Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum, a local planning watchdog, say they hope the creation of a masterplan will encourage a single developer to take the site on, halting any piecemeal project Forum chairman Roger Winfield said: “These sites are extraordinary. They are under-used. Many of the buildings are single-storey, and have large car parks.”

Another Forum member, Henry Herzberg, an architect, said: “We could accommodate as much work space as there is there today, but by building up we could provide housing units and make an amazing contribution to Kentish Town.”

The Forum’s early vision shows housing and businesses but no retail units to compete with existing businesses in Kentish Town Road. Blocks ranging from four to 10 storeys could be built, Mr Herzberg added.

A new pedestrian bridge across the railway tracks could link the site to a route to Parliament Hill Fields. Businesses already based in Regis Road, however, say they are concerned that the Town Hall might push for a residential-led scheme at their expense.

Adam Coppel, who runs IT support firm Correct Group, said: “We are very concerned that Camden may fail to put the needs of business and industry above residential development. Clearly, building residential units is more lucrative, but there is a cost to residents’ livelihoods, too.”

He added: “Finding inner-London office space that is suitable for businesses like us is proving more difficult as time passes.”

The firm moved from West Hampstead to Kentish Town when their old offices were converted into housing. Mr Coppel added: “We were lucky to enter into a lease here and we love the unique vibe and special community that we’ve joined. Support-businesses, such as ours, need to be located centrally for clients and our staff.”

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