Plans to create a new public space in front of King’s Cross, which will form the final part of the redevelopment of the station, have been given the go-ahead by Camden council.The design, by architects Stanton Williams, will reveal the Victorian Grade I listed station façade for the first time in 150 years. In place of the current 1970s concourse extension will be a 7,000m2 open space which will be 50% bigger than Leicester Square. The square will feature a Yorkstone and granite paving pattern with a new outdoor seating. An area suitable for large-scale art installations has also been identified. Following community consultation we overcame a number of constraints to increase the number of trees which will be planted.
Ian Fry, Network Rail’s programme director at King’s Cross said: “The station is at the heart of the regeneration of the King’s Cross area and it is great news for passengers, businesses and the community that the plans have been approved to create a new, public open space as part of it.
“The new public square and unveiled Grade I listed Lewis Cubbitt station façade will be the ideal complement to the new concourse, which opens in the spring, and together will help transform King’s Cross station into a world-class public transport hub.
“We are grateful for the ongoing support we’ve received throughout the station redevelopment and will continue to work closely with our partners, the local authority and community to deliver the remaining work with the least possible disruption.”
The decision to grant planning permission for the new space in front of King’s Cross station marks the end of a four-year design programme, which involved more than 4,500 people being consulted on the plans. When completed, it is estimated that the square will be used by 140,000 people every day.
Although on the face of it the creation of an open public square would appear a simple task, there are a number of complex engineering challenges owing to its location. The square will sit directly above the London Underground ticket hall which limits the features which can be incorporated into the design. The site also sits above tunnels carrying the River Fleet – London’s largest subterranean river – as well as other utilities and tube lines.
Alan Stanton of Stanton Williams said “Our design for the new Kings Cross Square will provide a new public space as a focal point at the heart of the wider Kings Cross development. The scheme takes into account all the complexities of the site, from its function as an arrivals area for the station, to the structures of the London Underground system. We welcome the planning consent so that the project can move forward.”