CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

A very unimportant station? Neighbours say old South Kentish Town tube stop will be ruined by extra floor

Station is part of Leslie Green's famous oxblood tube buildings

02 November, 2017 — By Richard Osley

The station in Kentish Town Road was closed to passengers in the 1920s

“THIS is a story about a very unimportant station on the underground railway in London,” once began the former poet laureate Sir John Betjeman in an ode to the defunct South Kentish Town tube stop on the Northern line.

But while it has not been used by passengers since the 1920s, neighbours of the tiled building in Kentish Town Road have described it as “significant” and “historically important”, and are so enamoured with the classic station architecture that they are urging planners to block a new bid to add a new storey of flats.

Developers want to start work on the extra floor, insisting the changes will not have a negative effect on the building downstairs and will provide much-needed homes.

Camden Council granted planning permission for a similar scheme but work never began. Officials are now deciding whether an updated scheme should be given the green light.

Caroline Hill, from the neighbourhood campaign group Kentish Town Road Action, said the proposal was “very ugly and inappropriate”, adding that it looked “extremely crude and bears no relation to the classic Edwardian station architecture”. She said that “three very small flats will in no way help the housing shortage”, suggesting that they would be “expensive and far out of the reach of those who need housing most”.

Rosemary Lewin, from the nearby Kelly Street Residents’ Association, said the addition would be “completely out of keeping” with a significant local building, while another objector, Craig Duncan, has also urged the Town Hall to block the works, telling planners: “We are being beset by developers wanting to expand our skyline for their own profit. Take the still expanding monstrosity by the canal as an example.”

Sir John Betjeman

Sir John’s poetic story about South Kentish Town told of an unfortunate passenger, Basil Green, who got stuck in the building after mistakenly getting off there. The station was part of a series built by legendary tube architect Leslie Green – marked out by their stylish oxblood tiling – and had a similar layout of the in-use Kentish Town station further up the road. The “ghost station” is now used for a branch of Cash Converters, but original features remain.

Montdore Investments, the company behind the plans, are looking to add two two-bedroom flats, and a one-bed unit. Their agents said in the application that the project would “bring the whole building to life as a vibrant mixed use site which will make a positive contribution to its neighbourhood”.

It noted that the site is “one of a number of examples of an important period of transport architecture in the capital” but added that its heritage would not be affected by building an extra storey. “Camden generally support the creation of new housing in the borough, especially when it is to be located in such a highly accessible location as this,” the application added.

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