April 25 2014 Latest news:

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A rail ride, exhibition and conference centre that would replace a former Royal Mail workshop looks set to be approved by councillors this evening.

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The plans form part of a huge development at the 6.5 acre Mount Pleasant site in Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell.

They will go before the planning committee at the town hall and have been recommended for approval.

The proposal would see a museum, a “Family Zone” for children and their parents, and the bringing to life of the “Mail Rail” to provide an amusement ride associated with the museum, to be called The Islington Mail Rail Exhibition and Ride.

Homes

It would also see the introduction of an event space to be hired out for private functions and parties, which would be used to help fund museum operations.

It is expected the amusement ride would be open up to seven days a week from 10am-5pm to coincide with the main museum facilities at Calthorpe House, drawing 180,000 visitors each year.

Plans to turn the rest of the site, which consists of a former car park and sorting offices, into about 700 homes, are still going through the planning system.

The planning document, compiled by an Islington Council officer, reads: “The proposal is considered to be a welcome community and cultural asset to the borough and the wider London area and is considered to be suitably designed.

“The development would bring an important and unused element of British heritage back into productive use, reinventing the Mail Rail operation to provide an educational and leisure feature for the local area, a key element of securing social and cultural well-being.”

The overall development, which straddles the Islington-Camden border, faces opposition from residents in the area who complain that the new buildings – some of which would reach 15 stories high – would substantially affect the character of the Rosebery Avenue Conservation Area.

Traffic

Other complaints, which are listed in a YouTube video posted by The Mount Pleasant Forum, include an increase in traffic in Farringdon Road, lack of infrastructure and an absence of affordable housing.

The Royal Mail say that the full project at the site will create 1,250 new jobs in the wider community.

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