CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

A watershed moment for conservation

08 October, 2020

• AS a conservationist I think the “Belgrove House”, King’s Cross, decision will be a watershed moment for conservation in Camden, even London as a whole.

We have lived through a decade or so of increasingly alarming planning decisions in Camden, each of which have started to raise questions about whether it understands the importance of heritage or the extent to which they are damaging London’s historic fabric.

But approval of this application would sweep away all doubts. There is no site more historically and architecturally sensitive than this, and no development proposal so inappropriate.

Approval of “Belgrove House” would send out a resounding message that, in the face of large-scale redevelopment, the existing environment, no matter how famous, is entirely irrelevant and any kind of development is now acceptable.

Camden’s increasing ignorance to both heritage and community concerns have caused all but a few to lose interest in local affairs. Trying to protect Victorian and Georgian buildings feels like a lost battle.

Refusal of “Belgrove House” on the grounds of unacceptable harm to heritage could lead to a revival of local interest and activity in conservation and the built environment, while rebuilding trust in Camden and its notorious planners.

I hope this application is refused so people can start to believe the built environment is genuinely important to Camden and that local involvement in conservation can be revived and encouraged.

OWEN WARD
Bloomsbury Conservation Areas Advisory Committee
& Save Bloomsbury

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