New images as Camden Highline plans are submitted to the Town Hall

New link between Camden Town and King's Cross

Thursday, 19th May — By Dan Carrier

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NEW images of a £55million park to be built above the streets of Camden Town and King’s Cross have been revealed – after an application for planning permission was submitted to the Town Hall.

The Camden Highline, running alongside the railway between Kentish Town Road and York Way, is modelled on New York City’s popular urban garden which was developed to take advantage of defunct train lines on viaducts above streets and neighbourhoods.
The paperwork and designs, now available for view on Camden’s planning website, give the most thorough overview yet of a plan that was first dreamed up four years ago by the business interests group Camden Town Unlimited (CTU).

It has won support from a range of businesses and public authorities including Camden Market owners Lab Tech, the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership,

Transport for London, the Greater London Authority and Network Rail.

The application marks an important stage in the scheme becoming reality, said CTU’s chief executive, Simon Pitkeathley, who added: “We can’t say anything yet, because we have only just submitted the scheme to planning. They will have to go through their internal process, but fingers crossed. We started this four years ago, and this marks another step closer to fruition.”

The Highline will stretch for three quarters of a mile and across six railway bridges, creating a route between three of Camden’s biggest developments of recent times – Hawley Wharf, King’s Cross and Tile Yard, off York Way, which is a music and cultural centre on a former industrial estate.

The Highline will boast wooded areas, meadows and hedgerows. It also includes room for a performance space, seating and kiosks, and viewing balconies opening up new vistas across Camden streets.

The application states: “The Highline forms an extraor­din­ary green thread through a dense and diverse area. It functions as a living thread, connecting people and places, while supporting a changing and adaptive ecology.

“There will be stairs, ramps, pathways, walks, niches, gardens, overlooks, thresholds, passages, and spaces for experience, interaction, learning and events. What will make this place so unique is its Camden-ness; the edginess, grit, verve, and strength of its communities.”

Phase One, from Camden Gardens to Camden Road station, includes a trainspotting area with a fence boasting spy holes at varying heights.

On the bridge across Camden Road in Camden Town, iron girders will hold a walk­way which offers a bird’s-eye views on the busy roads below.

And a defunct platform between Kentish Town Road and Camden Road station will become home to a new woodland area.

The application adds: “We hope it will serve as a taste of what’s to come, and an example for the city of what is possible with a process that strives to be inclusive, approachable, and rooted in the neighbouring communities’ visions for the future.”

Other images revealing the possible future of the project include different access points, viewing platforms and the arches at Camden Gardens lit up with violet lamps.

Organisers hope the new route will ease the increasingly congested canal towpath – now a popular cycle route.

The Highline will not be a cycle lane – but will give pedestrians an alternative way to King’s Cross from Camden Town.

Users will be able to climb nine metres above the streets at access points in Camden Gardens, Royal College Street, Camley Way and York Way. The planning outline adds the elevated park will give outdoor space to two large council-managed estates at Agar Grove and Maiden Lane.

The designs include public art too. Dotted among the vegetation will be scale models of historic signal boxes for children to find, similar to a model village.

Artists will be invited to submit ideas for projects and exhibitions, while a permanent memorial to Camden residents will be set up.

Names suggested include Asquith Xavier, the Euston station based train guard who fought to become the first non-white guard on British Rail.

Other suggestions include tenants’ activist Silla Carron and the Camden High Street-based bare knuckle fighter Tom Sayers.

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