Above: how the new six-storey building could look in Spring Place after the £15m project is completed. Below: how the site currently looks
Published: 9 August, 2016
by DAN CARRIER
A BUILDING project that will raise the height of a cab company’s maintenance garage into a six-storey office block has been welcomed by neighbours, who say the extra employment and sympathetic design is what Kentish Town needs.
The scheme, in Spring Place, west Kentish Town, will see repair shops used by Addison Lee demolished and replaced with a modern building that will provide space for up to 600 workers. Currently, the site employs around 40 people.
The designs show the new building will be six storeys high, up from two, but have a floor less than a block of flats next door. The land has been earmarked by the Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum’s development plan to accommodate more work space.
Designs show flexible working areas that will allow small firms to use it as a base to start up and then expand as their needs grow. The ground floor will include a café.
The architects behind the scheme, Piercy and Co, based in Camden Town, say that currently the stretch of Spring Place that houses the site is “dead space” with a frontage that is hardly used.
Members of the Inkerman Road Residents Association and the Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum have expressed support for the project.
The plans would see a reduction in traffic estimated to be the equivalent of at least 300 car journeys in the Kentish Town back streets each day, as the Addison Lee garage has that number of cars coming in and out. The new offices would be strictly car-free.
John Nicholson, from the Inkerman Road Residents Association, said they had met with developers and were supportive of the scheme.
He added: “This will provide important employment space. We have lost so much in recent years and so were pleasantly surprised to find they were thinking about flexible business space, not housing, for the site.
“We feel they have thought carefully about the design, with a new sustainable building and we are impressed by the way they are planning to incorporate railway arches into the design.”
Architect Henry Herzberg, of the Neighbourhood Forum, said: “As a Forum we are meeting in early August to discuss it, but I would say I very much welcome the concept.
“It will bring much-needed work space. It will bring opportunities for young people and start-ups. We know there is a demand as we have seen similar spaces used in Kentish Town this way – for example, in Highgate Road.”
He added that the size and design fitted in with the Forum’s long-term neighbourhood plan, which would see a depot opposite the site redeveloped.
It is close to Regis Road and the Murphy’s builders’ yard site – both identified by the Forum as land for redevelopment.
Mr Herzberg added: “It is in scale with surrounding buildings, and will respond in scale to developments in the coming 15 years nearby that will need to be of a similar size to be able to provide affordable housing.”
The building will be a mixture of metal-clad front, borrowing its language from the more industrial feel of buildings in the northern end of Spring Place, and then include a brick building closer to Inkerman Road, to match houses.
Andy McIntyre of developers Brockton Capital, said they believed such employment space was needed in the area.
He added: “The site does not best lend itself to residential because of the railway line next to it and the fact its current use is for businesses.”
Piercy and Co architect Stuart Piercy said: “We were interested in the industrial heritage of this part of Kentish Town.
“We wanted to create somewhere which had the feel of a cultural building rather than an office building.
“On ground level the arches are uncovered and inhabited by offices, a public café and a courtyard garden. Generous openings at ground level ensure these lively spaces animate the street.”
The £15million project could be finished in two-and-a-half years if the plans are passed by the Town Hall.