Angel Association puts in submission on Crossrail2

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;

January 2015

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Plans for the Chelsea-to-Hackney section of Crossrail 2 are in the early stages. Under the proposals, the line would run from stations in Hertfordshire to parts of Surrey and would open in the late 2020s. In central London it will pass through Euston, King’s Cross, Angel, Tottenham Court Road and Victoria.
This is the link to the consultation page. The safeguarded area, which sets out the boundaries of the land within which the new infrastructure could be built, has been published.

ALERT: Holborn Studios

Ian Shacklock, the chairman of Friends of Regents Canal, is organising a meeting and tour of Holborn Studios on Monday – 15 December – at 7pm. A consultation on proposals to redevelop the site is underway. The purpose of the meeting is to decide on an action plan for challenging the proposals and to explore ways of making residents more aware of what is being planned.
Details of the propsoals are on the FORC website

Theatre Visit

The secretary of the Angel Association is organising an outing to see Dead Sheep at The Park Theatre Clifton Terrace, London N4 3JP on Tuesday 7th April. This is the Tuesday immediately after Easter. Tickets are available for £15.
This is an extract from the website giving you more information about the play.
Cahoots Theatre Company in association with Park Theatre presents the World Première of

Dead Sheep by Jonathan Maitland

The true story of how Mrs Thatcher, once the most powerful woman in the western world, was brought down by her one time friend and political soul mate. 

It is 1989 and a seemingly invincible Prime Minister has sacked Geoffrey Howe, her Foreign Secretary.  She apparently had nothing to fear from him: his speaking skills had,  famously, been compared to those of a dead sheep. But inspired by his wife Elspeth – whose relationship with Thatcher was notoriously frosty – Howe overcame his limitations to destroy Mrs Thatcher with one of the great political speeches. The staging of Dead Sheep, a drama tinged with tragedy and comedy, coincides with the 25th anniversary of Howe’s assassination of his leader.

Directed by Ian Talbot (former Artistic Director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) with Steve Nallon (Spitting Image) as Margaret Thatcher. 

Funny, poignant and insightful: the first drama to nail one of the most fascinating political stories of our lifetime. Beautifully captures the essence of Thatcher and the brutality of politics and elevates Howe to his rightful place in history.
– Elizabeth Day, The Observer

– See more at:

 The maximum number of tickets available to us at the reduced price of £15 is 20. 

About us

The Angel Association’s Aims and Priorities

The demolition of many early Victorian streets in the 1960s to build the Packington Estate  was strongly opposed by many local residents. The public inquiry into the demolition and development proposals was a national, not just local, event and reflected growing concern about the neglect of our heritage of buildings and neighbourhoods. National policies began to change and the first Conservation Areas were set up in 1967. This was the background for the setting up of the Angel Association and many similar associations.     

The immediate issue which drove local people to set up the AA was the early 1970s’ Council proposal to create a lorry park by the uncared-for City Road Basin. Local residents came together to give themselves a voice about development in our part of London, and to help make sure that the amenity and quality of our neighbourhood was  not ignored but strengthened.

Much of our early work was devoted to helping make the City Road Basin and the Regent’s Canal a facility for all.  We supported, and continue to support, the Islington Boat Club – which provides water based sport and training for young people.  And the Association played a key role in the development of the adjoining Graham Street Park.

We worked with the Council to get the balance right between all road users, resulting in the closure of several road junctions to reduce rat running and give pedestrians and cyclists a better share of road space.

The issues that first brought us together are still very much with us : enhancing the City Road Basin and towpath and help reconcile the interests of different users; improving our parks and public gardens; traffic calming and reconciling the aims of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

We recognize that our area is changing, we are self-evidently in the heart of London which is growing rapidly and attracts people and investors worldwide. We are not simply a preservation society but we strongly value the qualities of our neighbourhood and are determined to play our part to improve it and to help guide changes accordingly. What do we think are the priorities for us now?

1. To safeguard the mix of different types of housing, business premises, excellent shopping, the Basin and Canal towpath, parks and squares which together make the Angel such a good place to live and work. We discuss major proposals with developers and with Council planners.

2. London is growing fast and there are strong development pressures. We need to accommodate these, but in ways which support the good mix we have. We also want to ensure that amenities and facilities are provided to support incoming residents, to avoid excessive pressure on what exists already. The changes in City Rd are dramatic, and we have worked, and continue to work, to try to ensure that the essential character of our area is enhanced; and that local people and businesses get benefit from this development.

3. Traffic management is a continuing issue for us. Providing good routes for the growing number of cyclists is important, together with making sure that pedestrians can walk safely. This is a particular issue on the Canal towpath.

4. Community safety is a clear priority and we are active members of the Ward Panel. The Panel is the key forum for discussions between the Police, Council and local residents to identify  and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.           

5. At the other end of the scale, we take a strong interest in individual planning proposals, to help support the listing and conservation area requirements that contribute so much to the character of this area.

6. In the year ahead, we will be putting special focus on provision of sporting, educational and other facilities  for young people in our area.

We work closely with other residents’ associations, particularly the Arlington Association and the Duncan Terrace  Residents’  Association; with the Council and in particular through St Peter’s Ward Partnership; with Angel Aim (the business led association for Angel town centre); with the Friends of Regent’s Canal; and with the Islington Society. .

We are a registered charity and are formally recognized by the Council as a local amenity association.

Angel Association

St Peter’s Ward

July 2014.

Tall towers in City Road

Tall towers on City Road

We’ve been watching the towers in City Road grow ever higher and we thought we’d investigate. At the end of May we visited the NLA exhibition in Store Street on the changes happening to London’s skyline and in June we made a detailed exploration of the sites on City Road.  Here’s what we found:
Seven towers are in the course of construction, four in Islington and three in Hackney and they’re very tall
Lexicon – Islington
261 City Road 36 storeys residential under construction (200 private, 107 affordable in separate block)
Canaletto – Islington
257 City Road 31 storeys residential under construction (190 private ,some affordable in separate block)
250 City Road – Islington
9 blocks of which 2 principal towers 42 and 36 storeys are proposed: the scheme has been called in by Boris Johnson but seems likely to proceed (995 residential units of which 298 affordable and 190 hotel rooms)
Eagle House – Hackney
161 City Road 26 storeys residential under construction (270 units with  affordable housing in a separate adjacent 7 storey building fronting City Road)
Montcalm Signature Tower-Hackney
151 City Road 24 storeys hotel and commercial under construction
Crown House – Hackney
145 City Road 39 storeys residential and retail approved (309 residential units with affordable housing to be provided off site)
This totals 2071 units not including much of the affordable housing which is to be located off site.
Underground parking can be purchased at a number of these towers but we were assured that residents parking in Islington and Hackney was not available.

The details from the exhibition can be seen on the NLA website:

Smithfield market plan rejected

Smithfield Market: office development rejected

Eric Pickles the Communities Secretary has accused the City of London Corporation of deliberate neglect” over the  current condition of Smithfield Market and rejected John McAslan & Partners £160m proposal to fill Smithfield Market with shops and offices following the recommendation of the Inspector .The  developer is Henderson Global.

In a resounding rejection Pickles said the proposals would have ” an extremely harmful effect on the historic buildings which runs entirely counter to national and policy objectives intended to protect such assets from harm”. Whilst not listed,the buildings involved in the Smithfield scheme were “heritage assets which contribute strongly to the distinctive character of the Smithfield Conservation Area”.

The Corporation was singled out for strong criticism ” the deteriorated state of the buildings is at least in part the result of the history of deliberate neglect”.

However the future of these buildings is still uncertain:  Henderson Global are retaining   the site and it remains to be seen whether they will do a deal with Eric Reynolds who put forward proposals to turn Smithfield into a Spitalfields-style market.

Alec Forshaw, Islington’s former Conservation Officer, was an expert witness at the Public Enquiry  :  his cogent Independent Appraisal on behalf of SAVE Britain’s Heritage   to the Enquiry  had a significant influence on the Inspector’s decision.  Read Alec Forshaw’s appraisal      

Towpath closure

You might have seen that the stretch of the towpath that runs from Colebrooke Row to the bridge in Danbury St, on the Vincent Terrace side, has been closed.

This stretch of the canal inspired Walter Sickert to paint “The Hanging Gardens of Islington.” It is a quiet part of the canal, not used by cyclists, but in recent years it has been neglected and now requires maintenance work.

The path and wooded embankment is owned by the Canal and River Trust and it was the Trust that took the decision to close the path.This area of the towpath is leased to the council by the Canal and River Trust, but the lease has expired.

Islington Council has commissioned a survey of the likely costs of repairs. The survey findings will be taken into account when a decision is taken on the terms of a new lease. The Angel Association understands that the council plans within the next couple of weeks to consider the costs of the work. The Association has stressed to the council the importance of this part of the canal. Read our letter to council HERE

We said: “This stretch of the Canal is cherished by local residents and must be kept open.

·         There are four benches on the Vincent Terrace pathway where people sit to enjoy the peace and beauty of this part of the canal. The brick wall running the length of the canal is also well used by residents and local office workers alike as a place to sit and watch the world go by.

·        It is not a cycle way and because of the steps cannot be used as an easy thoroughfare so the pace is slower and more relaxed. Dog walkers can walk their dogs in peace and quiet.

·        In recent years it has been badly neglected. Rubbish piles up amongst the daffodils and the trees are in a sorry state.”

A large number of residents have also written to the council pointing out the amenity value of the canal footpath. If you would like to make your views known, please let us know using the contact email for the secretary or write direct to the parks and open spaces department at Islington Council.

Prior approval for building in Arlington Avenue

Islington Council has rejected the application for a ceritificate of Lawfulness from the developers who want to convert an empty building behind 21-45 Arlington Avenue into flats.  Prior approval had been given under the new offices-to-residential planning rules to convert the building into nine flats – five with two bedrooms and four studio flats. The building is owned by  Barry Clutterbuck, who bought the building in 1987 from the Church Commissioners. The conversion cannot now go ahead as the application for a Certificate of Lawfulness has been rejected. The owner had been asked for evidence that the building had been used for offices for at least 10 years. The developer has a right to appeal the decision.

Planning Application P2013/5101/PRA; P2013/4988/COLP

Bernard Fishel retires from Committee

Bernard Fishel, who has just retired from the committee of the Angel Association, has lived in Islington since 1981 (and was born here!). He has been a very active member of the committee of the Association since 1999 and has taken a particular interest in planning issues, as the planning guidelines for the Conservation Area around the Angel have developed over the years. Bernard has also had a close involvement with the development of the Angel Town Centre. To mark his retirement from the Committee, Bernard and his wife Margaret attended a dinner in his honour at the Charles Lamb pub; and Bernard has been made an Honorary Life Member of the Association, as a mark of gratitude from his many friends in the Association, for all his hard work on behalf of the residents of St Peter’s ward.

January 2013