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Is the future orange for King’s Cross?

New tower hotel plan sparks objections

31 January, 2021 — By Dan Carrier

How the new tower would look

A GIANT bright orange skyscraper looming over historic streets would “mean the end of King’s Cross”, according to the chairman of a conservation body.

Plans lodged at the Town Hall for the former Royal Nose Throat and Ear Hospital, tucked behind Gray’s Inn Road, have been strongly criticised in a joint objection by the King’s Cross and Bloomsbury Conservation Area Advisory Committees.

It argues that a new 13-storey, 182-bed hotel would irreparably damage the appearance of streets that otherwise have managed to retain an “industrial working class” character.

Committee chairman Owen Ward said: “One building too tall, too bright, too modern, and the entire impression is shattered. Once a new precedent is set, and a new direction is taken in the urban evolution of this place, it is surely inevitable that the entire impression will slowly disintegrate. And then perhaps, we will finally see the death of King’s Cross.”

He added the “shiny scheme . . . is so alien to this area it will destroy not only this site’s importance but the entire character and impression of this place and King’s Cross as a whole.”

The group’s objections called the proposals “completely inappropriate,” and a “particularly inept application”.

The CAAC’s views have been echoed by The Victorian Society, while famous gig venue The Water Rats say a proposed alleyway running from Gray’s Inn Road to the hotel could become a magnet for crime.

A separate block will reach eight storeys, while the overall plans show 76 new homes, offices and a research centre for a life science firm. The developers say they will include a new public courtyard.

In the application, developers 330 Grays Inn Road Limited said the build will cost more than £100m to complete.

They defended the choice of a striking orange tower block, adding: “The use of a carefully selected palette of robust, high quality materials, with a tone, texture and patina that will be familiar to the King’s Cross area, will further help to embed the buildings . . . and add richness to the experience.”

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