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‘Stunning victory for common sense’ as Islington Council reject ‘outrageous’ King’s Cross office redevelopment

PUBLISHED: 12:12 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:12 06 December 2017

People living in Ice Wharf, left, were concerned about losing daylight due to the increased height of a redeveloped Regent's Wharf, right. Picture: George Rex/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

People living in Ice Wharf, left, were concerned about losing daylight due to the increased height of a redeveloped Regent's Wharf, right. Picture: George Rex/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

This size file released CC-by-SA provided you attribute: Photo by George Rex.

Campaigners have hailed a “stunning victory for common sense” after planning chiefs turned down controversial plans to redevelop a King’s Cross office block.

Protesters said the application to overhaul Regent’s Wharf, in All Saints Street, would literally have been daylight robbery as part of the redevelopment would have increased the height of the block by two storeys.

To the campaigners’ surprise, Islington Council’s planning committee rejected Regent’s Wharf Property Unit Trust’s proposal, which intended to provide a “workspace campus for creative industries”, at a town hall meeting on Tuesday night.

This was despite Islington planning officers recommending councillors should approve the application. And that was despite the planning officers having already admitted the height of the redevelopment would “result in harm” to people living in the Ice Wharf apartments and numbers 1 to 3 All Saints Street.

They had said loss of daylight would be “significant in some cases” but that, on balance, the “significant benefits to the proposal outweighed the harm to neighbouring properties”.

They had “strongly supported” the proposal because more business space would have been made available.

But, in their words, there had also been a “substantial volume” of formal objections from members of the public.

One of them was Ian Shacklock, chair of the Friends of Regent’s Canal. He said 50 objectors turned up on Tuesday, and told the Gazette after the meeting: “It’s such an outrageous development.

“We were hoping to defer it until the daylight issues were addressed. But Paul Convery, the Caledonian councillor, said deferring it was not good enough and that the whole thing should go back to the drawing board. Every single councillor voted against it, and I have to say we were surprised. It shows the best of our elected representatives, acting as checks and balances.

“From the canal perspective, we objected to the development’s vandalism of an old Victorian warehouse. But much more important was the daylight aspect. A guy gave a very moving speech about how natural daylight can be insurance against mental illness.”

Mr Shacklock concluded: “This wasn’t nimbyism. It was self-preservation.”

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