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Town Hall extension: Your role in
getting the best for Camden
What’s happening?
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The Council took a decision in 2011 to sell the Town Hall Extension building as part
of our accommodation strategy to tackle the amount we spend on old council office
buildings.
This site is a valuable taxpayers’ asset in a prime location for many developers.
The building will be sold in 2014 once services across the borough have moved into
one new building at St Pancras Square in Kings Cross Central.
Anyone who buys the site and plans to redevelop it would need to carry out a public
consultation as part of the planning process.
But first we want to talk to you as a local resident/organisation about what your
priorities are for the site to make sure that we get the best for Camden.
Through this process we will develop a brief document featuring your feedback which
will be sent to all potential buyers of the building. All bids we receive will be judged
against certain criteria including how the potential buyer has shown consideration for
the impacts and potential benefits for the local area.
The Council’s interests in the site
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Property owner – financial obligation to get best value for a taxpayer’s asset
and reduce the amount which is spent on old council offices.
Planning authority – want to see the existing building put to good use or a
new building of architectural merit for the area which meets the planning
policies for the site.
Responsibility for Argyle school – want to minimise disruption and see some
benefits.
Supporting the sustainability of local voluntary and community sector
organisations – want to try to get some benefits for them.
Responsibility to represent local residents – want to ensure disruption is
minimised and the wider environmental impacts are considered and
improved through any development.
Employer – to provide good conditions for staff
Service provider – to deliver top quality and accessible facilities to our
service users
Partner – working with others to make Kings Cross a better place
Why are we involving you?
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We need to balance all these interests. This includes getting the best for
council taxpayers across the borough and those people who live locally to
the site. We can do this by stating our requirements and desires from any
potential purchasers clearly in the marketing process. We want you to be
involved in developing this brief document.
Dependent upon who buys it, the sale of the building could provide a unique
opportunity to create funds (which otherwise aren’t available) to reinvest in
local community facilities in King’s Cross.
We also know that any potential redevelopment on your doorsteps will
cause anxiety and we want to make sure that we fully consider how to
minimize the impacts on local people.
For example we can specify in the brief how the future buyer of the building
should involve local people throughout any potential
planning/redevelopment process such as using community steering groups
to consider design and to monitor the impacts of any construction works.
What do you need to do?
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In this pack are a number of documents for you to look at, and tell us your
views based on the questions on the following page.
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The pack includes:
- Making the most of our buildings
- What the planners will consider when assessing any future planning
application for redevelopment of the site
The pack contains a summary of the existing planning policy on the site. We
want to hear your thoughts, which we will capture and then incorporate into
the marketing documents for the building. Bidders for the building will be
judged against our planning policies.
We are organizing a schedule of meetings throughout August – October
with local community groups and representatives. Please get in contact to
organize a time which is convenient for you by calling Jaishree Dholakia on
Tel: 020 7974 1600.
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Questions for you
• What benefits could a new development bring to the
area? (For example financial, environmental,
employment or aesthetic.)
• What are your concerns about any potential
development?
• What would you want to ensure any developer considers
during the process?
If you don’t want to attend a meeting you can submit your views by
emailing [email protected] or calling Jaishree
Dholakia on Tel: 020 7974 1600 if you’d like to talk to someone about
this consultation.
Timelines and next steps
August-September
•Consultation packs sent to local residents and organisations.
•Meetings with community groups, business, Tenants & Resident Associations, Argyle School, other interested parties
October
Analyse feedback, commentary and observations from consultees and prepare the marketing documents for the
building to reflect consultation responses, planning guidelines, Local Development Framework site allocations policy.
November
Feedback and engagement to review final marketing documents and timetable.
November- April 2013
Launch marketing details seeking expressions of interest, preparation of short -listed developers. Second stage seeking
detailed financial offers and development proposals.
Up to April 2013
Analysis of detailed bids, decision on preferred bidder, contract discussions.
April 2013 – January 2014 – potentially shorter period
Planning engagement process involving developer. Developer statutory planning application consultation. Planning
permission sought.
August/September 2014
Disposal of site subject to vacant possession.
Making the most of our buildings
Making the most of our buildings
It would cost £20m to refurbish the Town Hall extension, plus substantial rental and running costs
associated with temporarily relocating staff and services off-site. This would mean finding additional
budget, which is simply not available in this financial climate and would have had to come from further
cuts to service budgets or increasing rates – something we are not prepared to do.
We need to take a different approach which means that we are selling:
• Bidborough House
• Cockpit Yard
• Crowndale Centre (the library to be re-provided)
• Jamestown Road
• Roy Shaw Centre / Cressy Road
• Town Hall extension
• 98-100 St Pancras Way
• 156 West End Lane
We have or will end leases at Bedford House, Clifton House and 42 Caversham Road.
The Town Hall will not be sold, it will be retained to continue council services.
The new building at Pancras Square is due to be ready summer 2014. The Town Hall Extension sale
will not be completed until services have moved into the new building.
Making the most of our buildings
By reviewing the use and ownership of all our buildings we can:
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transform how we deliver services and the way that we work in the future
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be more innovative in the way we shape and deliver services which are ‘right first time’
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achieve a smaller, more effective, efficient and sustainable corporate office portfolio.
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This will help to reduce our ‘back-office’ costs, such as on heating, lighting and maintenance
meaning more money is available to pay for services and new facilities - a new library, twoswimming pool leisure centre and customer access centre
What does this mean for the Town Hall extension:
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it is through our accommodation strategy and rationalising our property portfolio that we are able to
pay for the new King’s Cross building at Pancras Square, at no additional cost to Council tax payers
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through selling eight existing buildings (including the Town Hall extension) and terminating leases at
three others, combined with savings on associated running costs, we will be able to pay for the new
facility
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it’s a self-financing scheme and will avoid £77m maintenance costs otherwise needed to run older,
inefficient buildings. In the longer-term it will also generate savings of £2.4m a year
King’s Cross building at Pancras Square
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Community areas: leisure including two swimming pools, shared service customer access centre,
café and library with ICT access.
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Library and access centre: a modern, fit for purpose library service for residents, visitors, students
and others likely to have in excess of 250,000 customer visits a year.
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A new sports facility for local people which will cater for a wide range of ages, abilities and needs
including people with mobility problems, older adults, disabled people and very young children
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A small ‘lagoon’ fun pool with water features for families as well as a spa.
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100 station fitness gym with views over the pool and spacious exercise studios.
Planning - The type of things planners need
to consider for this site
Location in London
Opportunities
• Central London
• Excellent transport
• Excellent location – between
a new part of Kings Cross and
Bloomsbury
• Opposite St Pancras and a
new square at Kings Cross
station
• A better building?
• New uses / better street
frontage to Euston Road
• Other benefits / improvements
e.g. investment in facilities,
accessibility, streets, public
realm
Challenges and Constraints
• A “Gateway” – not just to London
and UK, but to Camden / Islington
and the distinct places where
people live
• Euston Road - a barrier to
movement
• Heritage: Conservation Areas and
Setting of Listed Buildings -Town
Hall, Stations, school/houses to rear
• Keep or demolish?
• Architecture and design: height,
scale, views, materials?
• Crossrail 2: current safeguarding
• Minimising and managing possible
impacts on school and residents:
e.g. during building works, daylight /
overlooking
How will planning decisions be made?
• Based on planning policies - National Framework
(NPPF), Local Development Framework and London
Plan (the “Development Plan”)
• Other plans and guidance: Conservation Area
Appraisals, Camden Planning Guidance, Place Plan,
future Neighbourhood Plan
• Respecting places, context and character
• Architectural and design assessment
• Economics and viability is a planning issue (but interests
of Council as landowner and planning authority are
distinct) eg potential Crossrail contributions
Planning policy issues
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Supports both re-use or
redevelopment
Uses – policy supports
replacement business/office/job
creation uses. If not then housing
the preferred use. Possible
affordable housing.
If any additional floorspace - seek
mixed uses including housing
Different uses have different
impacts and considerations
Key issue: heritage and settings of
listed buildings
Supporting high quality
development/ Discourage
“arrogant” or “aggressive”
architecture
Scale of benefits – will vary
depending on the scale of what's
proposed and possible impacts
Seeking views
• Refurbish or redevelop?
• Types of use?
• If redeveloped, what type of
building and architecture?
• What kind of
size/scale/height?
• What type of materials /
details?
• What other benefits?
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