#googlebridgekx what people are saying…

googlebridge-logoSend us your comments and sign up to the letter to Google calling for a safe pedestrian and cycle bridge across the tracks at the immediate rear of King’s Cross station through the new Google building. The bridge was in the 2004 planning brief for King’s Cross Central but so far no-one has built it. The local community want a safe pedestrian and cycle bridge to replace the original bridge on the site. Google are redesigning their new building as we speak, so this is the time for #googlebridgekx from York Way through Google to King’s Boulevard :)

I think it would be a great idea for Google to build a pedestrian/bicycle bridge across the tracks at Kings Cross. This would not only greatly benefit the area and assist Google employees but would also send a message from Google about caring for and investing in the local community.

Keith Brown

Dear Google, please help us to create a welcoming East side to Kings Cross St Pancras. Unfortunately recent developments have created huge improvements to the area on all points of the compass except the East side. There is a wonderful opportunity with the Google bridge to create a unique contribution in terms of public access, style and vibe of the East side of the development

David Oxnam

Please add my name to those requesting that Google consider the originally proposed pedestrian bridge over the tracks behind King’s Cross Station.  This not only will benefit pedestrians but will further revitalize the immediate area of York Way and Wharfdale Road by making it a viable route into King’s Cross Central.

Stephan Schulte

I am writing the give my support to the building of the bridge.  I work at the Kings Place building and frequently head over to St Pancras for shopping or lunch and it would be much quicker and more pleasant than walking past all the traffic.

Louise Sandford

I entirely support the campaign to  get a bridge for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchairs across the rail tracks at King’s Cross which is back online.  It is essential and laudable that Google is looking for ways to make its new building better by building the bridge .

I fully support Google’s for looking for ways to ensure maximum safety in its future new Environment. In the name of cycle safety, pedestrian comfort, the disabled rights and general public health I  congratulate Google for their decision/ motives which are valid and  essential reasons to be supported by me and many more Londoner and tourists.

Lillian Brafman

We would like to add our names  for the campaign to request Google to build the originally promised footbridge from the intersection of York Way/Wharfdale Road into their new headquarters building in Block A – on the other side of the tracks.

Such a bridge would be of genuine value to our York Central building and other nearby residents.  We  think it would also help revitalize this intersection since the old rear entrance to the station was closed.

Peter Gandy, Dr. Elham Bazzaz Ghaffari and
Lili Bibi Ghaffari Gandy

To whom it may concern, please honour the pledge to construct a pedestrian bridge across the north end of King’s Cross station. It would help ensure that the benefits of the renewal in the railway lands extend into the Caledonian road neighbourhood as well.

Loralie Barker

Please add me to the letter asking Google to implement the new bridge plan in their new design proposals for their new building.

I am the leaseholder of a flat in Somers Close in Somerstown and am someone who knows how badly residents need this new bridge. It will transform the area from a practical point of view. In a district that has got carried away with the influx of vast investment it is easy for state and corporate giants to forget the ‘little’ people who have been around living in the area before they ever arrived. They have responsibilities.

We are counting on Google, an overseas profit-making entity, to look out for us, because our own native non-profit making representative, Camden Council, has utterly failed us, ignoring a signed petition for the bridge, yet it increases service charges on all its properties year on year.

This is a sorely needed addition to the area, and one that the people have directly requested. Where the council has ignored the people, can the mega-corporation be our saviour? We hope so!

Alex Ingr

I’d like to add my name to any appeal to anybody to restore easy access for pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users from the East side of King’s Cross to the West side. And access to KX/St Pancras from the North

Stephen Kreppel

A creative solution – this would be beneficial in so many ways.

Steven Edwards

I am supporting your initiative for getting the bridge built. It makes all sense to me, hopefully to Google too.

Christopher Vanjal

Please add my support – thank you for campaigning!

Cabe Franklin

I want to add my name in calling for the Kings Cross bridge. Its a fantastic idea!

Tom Weaver

Yes, please. The current development of King’s Cross has largely overlooked some of the needs of people living on the east side. A bridge would restore the access we used to have and be a really, really good outcome and make lots of people happy by reducing their walk to the tube/railway station.

Deborah Seyman

Please add my name to your letter to Google asking for a bridge. At the very least they should make provision for a bridge to be built. It was callous of Argent and Camden to let this requirement terminate in 2012.

Malcolm Tucker

The bridge was always part of the negotiations with the community and on the planning brief, but Argent conveniently ignored it. It is very important to reinstate it.

Jean Burnett

We’re writing a letter to Google…

Click here to add your name to our letter to Google below (remember to give us your name), or scroll to the end of the letter to leave your comment.

Dear Google,

Can Google dream of GooglebridgeKX? We hope so...

Can Google dream of GooglebridgeKX? We hope so…

People in the King’s Cross neighbourhood are delighted by the news that you have asked your architects to re-work their design to make it even better.

We are writing to urge you to include a bridge for pedestrians, bikes and wheelchairs across the railway tracks on the line of the former bridge, Battlebridge Road.

This bridge would complete the East-West route which would enable people to move between Islington, King’s Cross, St Pancras and Euston Stations avoiding the danger, noise and rotten air quality of the A501, Euston Road. It would also make a much more convenient way for lots of Islington people to get to King’s Cross, and indeed to your offices. Your staff bike park seems to be in just about the right place too.

Exchange Square is a public green space that forms a bridge across the tracks at Liverpool St Station… bridge daydreams for King’s Cross

The bridge was something thousands of residents and businesses campaigned for and it was included in Camden’s and Islington’s Planning Brief for the area and also in Argent’s plans. It never got built because it’s on Network Rail’s land, they didn’t want to pay for it and Camden council lacked the guts to insist that they should.

It has the support of local politicians of all parties and of London Assembly members. If you build it you would be doing a lot for London, for safety, for the environment and for the locality. No evil. Good.

Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart

Bridge dreams… could Google’s new building incorporate a much needed bridge and be as exciting as Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart?

If you want to see how exciting it can be to have a public right of way snaking through an important building, go and look at the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart.

If you want to see how a green space (more than just a bridge) can be decked over the throat of a station go to Exchange Square at Broadgate.

Best wishes…

PS We’d love to meet to share bridge dreams for King’s Cross!

Google, you can really make a difference for London cyclists

The notorious King’s Cross gyratory including junctions on the A501 ring road – Euston Rd/Gray’s Inn Rd/ Pancras Rd/York Way – has had more than its fair share of cyclist injury and fatality. Time to stop this, if Google built GooglebridgeKX, a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists completing the link from The Angel to Marylebone it would make a massive difference. Meanwhile, here’s the petition calling on the Mayor to take action. Hint to Google – how about teaming up with Transport for London to design a fab safe bridge from York Way to King’s Boulevard?

Why GooglebridgeKX?

This is the campaign for a pedestrian and cycle bridge across the immediate rear of King’s Cross Station. Until 2012 a Section 106 obligation on Argent (now King’s Cross Central/N1C) required them to allow the bridge to run from what is now the new Google HQ to York Way. The plan was to integrate the bridge into the Google building through a public access area. Google are currently reviewing their plans for the site. We hope they will include the new and exciting GooglebridgeKX.

Click on the slides below to see the case we made for the bridge back in 2008 – or download the Powerpoint presentation by clicking here.

Slide1 Slide2 Slide3 Slide4 Slide5 Slide6 Slide7 Slide8 Slide9

Let’s bridge the tracks

The campaign for a crossing over the railway tracks at the immediate rear of King’s Cross Station, replacing the old Battlebridge Road, scored a major success on 14 December 2010 when the Mayor’s Planning and Housing Committee visited the site of both the station and the King’s Cross Central development. As Conservative GLA Member Andrew Boff explained, “We are here as part of an investigation into public access to effectively privatised spaces”.

  Battlebridge Crossing banner
Chair of the Committee, Nicky Gavron described our missing bridge as, “absolutely impossible and needs to be overcome. So many people live on the east side and yet cannot have the access they used to have to the station, to the tube station and the front and they have to go all the way round. There was a bridge in the original planning application but nobody is following through on it. There’s a very easy solution to this but somebody’s got to take responsibility”.

We look forward to seeing the results of the Committee’s visit, watch this space. Meanwhile the Network Rail team behind the station redevelopment will be on hand to answer questions from Monday 17th January to Friday 21st January between 7am and 7pm when a public exhibition will open at King’s Cross Station.

If you would like to ask them to provide the much needed bridge, do go along and put your points to the team. And of course, let us know how you get on and what their response is by emailing us.

King’s Cross Station – community campaign whitewashed out by DfT and Network Rail

King's Cross Station overspend by Network railPhillip Hammond, the new Secretary of State for Transport was whisked to Kings Cross in his first few days in the job to ‘open’ the new Platform Zero on 20 May.  Platform Zero and the Eastern Range offices have become infamous in the area for gross overspending and have featured in the trade press.

The briefing released by DfT and Network Rail apparently provided for the Secretary of State is a hymn of praise for the Kings Cross project and doesn’t mention at all Network Rail’s overspending.  Even though arguably the greatest challenge for the new Transport Secretary and his officials is to bring Network Rails’ expenditure under control.

Also apparently whitewashed out is the long, principled and hard fought community campaign opposed to the way Network Rail chose to develop Platform Zero and their own offices – in particular the loss without replacement of a historic access route for pedestrians, prams, wheelchairs etc into the North of the station forcing a huge detour round the outside of the station.

Tipped off by the construction trade press, ‘Kings Cross job doubles its costs‘ a campaign by this website forced DfT to reveal that Network Rail had overspent by tens of millions on the rebuilding of their own offices and Platform Zero. I also notice that the Kings Cross budget, that used to be hazily stated as £400million has now risen to ’Network Rail’s £500m King’s Cross redevelopment‘.  But I am told by DfT that we can’t know the precise number lest it reduces Network Rail’s leverage with its contractors.

I thought it was odd that the Secretary of State’s first rail ‘visit’ was to a project notorious for over spend – normally you would send a minister to something unambiguously good for their first trip out of the office.

Local activists weren’t invited to the launch we were told there ‘wasn’t enough room’ – on a train platform over 100 metres long – although we were invited to all the Eurostar festivities despite a long running campaign and behaved ourselves.  Smelling a rat, I put in an FOI request for the Secretary of State’s briefing to see what was being said about the overspend on the development and the community campaign. Why would a new Secretary of State agree to his first rail bit of PR be endorsing and overspent project unpopular with the community?

The documents released under FOI - appear to be the entire briefing  supplied by DfT and Network Rail officials to the Secretary of State – DfT does not say that any documents were withheld under FOI exemptions.

Briefing on an event is intended to give a Minister the full picture warts and all so that they can decide whether to go or not and to inform them of any pitfalls – policy or reputational. The briefing documents DfT have released omit to mention overspend and also omit the strong grass roots campaigns against the development.  This is particularly poor given the new government’s emphasis on spending control and the big society – citizens in control of their neighbourhood.

We know that DfT officials involved in station refurbishment programmes are painfully aware of the issues around Platform Zero and the Eastern Range – because they have agonised in pulling together FOI requests setting it out, which I appealed for internal review at senior level.

My sources tell me that Network Rail still gets hot under the collar when the Kings Cross affair is mentioned – they certainly haven’t forgotten the fiasco that their lack of community engagement caused.

I don’t have a bone to pick with Philip Hammond but there is something strange in how his officials and Network Rail apparently don’t mention in his briefing the severe financial overspend and community unhappiness about the Eastern Range and Platform Zero.  Instead they send him there to endorse the project.

So I am sending a copy of this article to Robert Devereux, the Permanent Secretary at DfT, who is in charge of the officials for his comments.  If anyone else involved in the project has any further documents or information I’d be happy to publish them here.

Thanks to Will Perrin for this article, see the original here.

Highspeed 1 says NO!

HS1July 23 2009

To Highspeed 1, St Pancras:

 

I am involved with a locally based campaign covering King’s Cross and Somers Town calling for provision of a pedestrian and cyclist bridge across the rear of the tracks immediately outside the King’s Cross Station building. There was a bridge at exactly that point until the 1920s when it was an extension of Battlebridge Road joining with the junction with York Way and Wharfdale Road. Once it was removed, pedestrians retained access to King’s Cross St Pancras via an entrance at the same junction. This was closed earlier this year. The local business, commuting and residential communities that regularly use the stations are calling for a new, smaller bridge to replace our lost entrance.

 

Such a bridge would have great benefits to High Speed 1, linking St Pancras directly to south Islington, making use of both the international and domestic parts of the station much more accessible for tens of thousands of people.

 

The bridge campaign has the support of all the major political parties at local and regional levels. It was supposed to have been the subject of a feasibility study carried out by Arup on behalf of Network Rail; the requirement of a Section 106 condition to the original planning application. Unfortunately that feasibility study looked at other options, not the bridge that was being called for. Nonetheless LB Camden planning officers allowed the incorrect Arup study to fulfil Network Rail’s S106 commitment, hence planning was fully approved without any north eastern access to King’s Cross St Pancras.

 

Full details about the campaign and the reasons behind it can be seen on our website at  [www.kingscrossaccess.com]. Following a highly successful public meeting held last summer, we maybe holding a further public meeting later this year. Part of the aim of that meeting would be to look at potential schemes drafted on a pro bono basis for the campaign by a locally based company. High Speed 1 will of course be invited should such a meeting take place.

 

I understand that High Speed 1 may feel that such a bridge would be beneficial. If that is the case, it would be very helpful to know if we could publicise that support as it would strengthen the case we are currently making. We would of course welcome any comments on the bridge campaign that High Speed 1 may wish to make.
30 July 2009
From Highspeed 1:

 

Thank you for your email updating us on the topic of access to/through King’s Cross station from York Way. Whilst we were aware of some of the issues as the King’s Cross Station design emerged and gained consent, any additional access that may be possible at King’s Cross will not have a significant beneficial impact on St. Pancras International. Given that we already have excellent accessibility for our customers, we are surprised to learn that someone may have thought that we would need additional facilities.
Throughout the construction of High Speed 1 and the refurbishment and extension of St Pancras we have always worked very closely with the community, however we do not feel that we can add any value to or gain anything from this debate and as railway operators ourselves we see this as a practical matter for the facility owner, Network Rail, and any interested parties.
30 July 2009
Draft response not yet sent…
Thankyou so much for your prompt and well considered reply. You clearly have a thorough understanding of all the points made in my email and I do appreciate your detailed response to each of them. It is always heartening to see that issues such as this one are taken so seriously by all concerned; local democracy is, as ever, thriving when companies such as yours and Network Rail lead the way by actively engaging with the various communities of interest on whose daily lives your services and infrastructure have such a fundamental impact.
NOT!

Emily of Islington spearheads community concerns

 6a00d8345162e169e20115715018f4970b-piEmily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury, has taken the case made by community campaigners against the so-called business case study for Battlebridge Crossing (aka the Wharfdale Road bridge) directly to LB Islington.

In a letter to the Islington and Camden press campaigners put the case that the study, commissioned by LB Islington, was contracted to a transport consultancy (Colin Buchanan) with a vested interest in its outcome. Further, the study was of such a poor standard that it should never have seen the light of day, let alone having been funded from the public purse.

Emily Thornberry has taken up the cause with LB Islington Chief Executive John Foster; she says:

“I agree that any piece of work commissioned with public money should provide good value and I share concerns that this exercise may have been flawed. I would be grateful for your comments.”

At present LB islington plans to discuss the flawed report with Network Rail at September’s West Area Planning Committee. We have asked whether this discussion should go ahead at all.

Until a real business case is made for the bridge, using the increasing number of red herring type reports and studies can only assist developers with their refusal to fund a much needed business and community asset for Camden, Islington, Transport for London, Network Rail, Eurostar, the Government…. (the list goes on).