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'It would have been vandalism': Neighbours' joy as King's Cross office block plans rejected

PUBLISHED: 16:37 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:10 08 August 2019

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.

The Planning Inspectorate has upheld Islington Council's decision to reject a developer's "oversized" King's Cross office block that would "harm the appearance" of a conservation area.

An inspector dismissed Regent's Wharf Property Unit Trust's appeal on Tuesday, two years after councillors rejected its proposal for fear it could cause a "serious loss of light" to neighbours in All Saint Street.

In his report, David Nicholson agreed about the sunlight, and said the scheme would "harm the character and appearance" of the Regent's Canal West Conservation area.

The plans would have overhauled Regent's Wharf and increased the block's height by two storeys to create a "workspace campus for creative industries."

Ian Shacklock, chair of Friends of Regent's Canal, told the Gazette the campaign to kill the plan has been a "massive pincer movement" between conservationist and neighbours.

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He added: "We were delighted when the council rejected it 18 months ago, but, just like all developers, they couldn't take no for an answer.

"Residents followed it all the way through and put up a massive fight. There was a perfectly good aesthetic of Victorian architecture in a conservation environment and they were trying to stretch it upwards and insert these hideous Dorma windows, completely out of place with the buildings. They would have plunged neighbouring buildings, the canal and wildlife into darkness. It would have been vandalism of a building."

Cllr Paul Convery, a member of the planning committee that rebuffed the proposal, said: "We weren't in principal against it - several hundred more jobs would have been located there. We didn't have problem with that, but we did with the loss of light and design."

In reference to the appeal verdict, he added: "It's a very good decision and a case study in what happens when a developer says one thing and then does another.

"They had actually come along to a pre-application planning panel and showed us certain plans, then came back and added two storeys, which was felt to be very bad for the community. Hopefully they come back with something more sensible."

Regent's Wharf Property Unit Trust has been approached for comment

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