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.