Response to Crossrail 2 Safeguarding Consultation December/January 2015.
1 The Angel Association welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Crossrail 2 proposals. The Association is a local amenity organisation covering St Peter’s Ward which includes the site of the Angel Tube station and the residential areas to the east of the town centre. The Association found the discussion at Islington Town Hall on 13 January 2015 with Dft. TfL and Network Rail helpful. In principle we strongly support this proposed new transport infrastructure with a station at the Angel.
2, We are pleased that Michele Dix has been appointed by TfL as project leader and that consultants have also been appointed to carry out more detailed planning, engineering and structural work. This will obviously help make progress on the project which is now only in its early stages. Assessing its impact on our town centre area, therefore, must currently be speculative. We therefore think it is essential that good dialogue with the Crossrail 2 project team continues as the project evolves, and that we have the opportunity to feed in views based on our detailed local knowledge.
3. We note that final decisions have not been taken on whether this is to be a regional railway or more similar to a Tube, but we understand it is likely to be a regional railway. This is a very significant decision because given the much larger scale of a regional railway stations are less frequent and larger, and routeing decisions are less flexible. When will the Regional/Tube decision be taken?
4. We also note that there is some uncertainty whether the route will be from Angel to Dalston Junction or whether there would also be a route to Hackney Central, branching off the Angel/Dalston route. This decision seems central to the possible part use of Shoreditch Park as a worksite, etc. This decision may also affect the possible orientation of the Angel station, see para 8 below.
5. We find the current proposals specifying Areas of Surface Interest at the Angel wholly unsatisfactory, and the proposals disregard important opportunities to integrate this railway with our town centre. In particular –
(a) The designation of Torrens St seems to rest on the fact that there are Northern Line shafts there which served this previous Angel Tube entrance and now no longer in use. Torrens St is a very tight site, very difficult to enter and exit, with a long residential terrace (Duncan Terrace) close by. The buildings adjoining the old station entrance along the eastern side of Torrens St are designated for cultural and related uses and act as a barrier to protect the amenity of the Georgian terraces close by. It seems inconceivable to plan works in this area without considering the area on the western side of Torrens St occupied by the two office blocks, Angel Square and that currently occupied by RBS.
(b) The area designated on the west side of Islington High St from the Pentonville Rd corner contains a variety of commercial buildings which together add to the town centre’s amenity and character. The tall domed building at the corner is one of Islington’s strongest landmarks. The tower next to it similarly identifies the Angel. It seems inconceivable that these might be demolished or harmed. Noone would argue that the whole commercial frontage in this locality is as distinguished but nor should we contemplate piecemeal redevelopment of part leaving historic buildings isolated.
(c) The possible use of Shoreditch Park is less difficult but its reinstatement in good, enhanced condition as quickly as possible would be essential.
d) Similarly the possible use of the site in Penton St would be less problematic but it is essential to consider in more detail whether this helps draw together our town centre.
6. We consider that the current approach to the Angel area is too simplistic and unimaginative. The Crossrail 2 proposals should focus much more strongly on the use of the commercial buildings’ sites immediately to the east of Islington High St and immediately west of Torrens St – Angel Square and the RBS occupied building. Both these buildings have long dead frontages instead of supporting the animation of the High St. They block good pedestrian connection between the High St and City Road. It is important that the new station relates to City Rd given the very large number of new homes now being built at City Rd Basin and at 250 City Rd. The RBS building in particular is seen locally as ugly, overbearing and making very poor use of its whole site. We recognize that a commercial deal would need to be struck with the current owners of these two commercial buildings, and we would expect the possibilities for imaginative, onward oversite development should offer scope for mutually satisfactory arrangements.
7. On the western side we support the proposal for a station entrance on this side of the town centre. But we consider that much more attention should be given to the possibility of using the Sainsbury’s site and car park near Penton St. This is an under exploited very large site, and again there are very good possibilities for mutually satisfactory onward redevelopment. With both such outcomes we would have the opportunity to draw together the town centre, get rid of dead frontages, and make pedestrian flows much easier to the benefit of the area’s amenity and success. .
8. We should also like to consider with you what the orientation of the Angel station is likely to be. The Surface Interest pattern, and the safeguarding lines seem to assume a broadly east-west orientation and our comments above follow this. But we consider that a north east – southwest station orientation opens up possibilities to draw the town centre together in a different beneficial way, linking the Angel crossroads area to the southern end of Essex Road. Clearly much work needs to be done on local impacts but a proper study of this option ought to be undertaken. This seems especially so if the Hackney Central spur is not pursued, it is this spur which seems to drive the current routeing eastwards immediately after the Angel instead of heading in a more northerly direction towards Dalston.
9. We therefore hope to be able to have a continuing constructive dialogue with the Crossrail 2 project team, flowing from our comments above.
Eric Sorensen, Chairman Angel Association; Beverley Dean, Secretary Angel Association.firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.