Camley Street Community Land
Trust and sustainability zone is an ambitious community-led development which
will create an exemplary mixed-use neighbourhood of high-quality, truly
affordable council homes and light industry in the London Borough of Camden. The
Trust and Camden Council would partner on the project to maximise local
benefit, local jobs and social value.
Karakusevic Carson Architects
have worked closely with residents and local businesses through the Camley
Street Neighbourhood Forum for over 6 years and established a detailed
masterplan and planning strategy and architectural proposals for this
progressive scheme which would retain and expand local industry and food
In 2014, we were approached by
members of the local community who were concerned that the area in which they
lived and worked – one of the last council-owned industrial sites
in central London, was in danger of being lost to private development. The neighbourhood,
a three-hectare sliver of land bordering the main Kings Cross redevelopment
zone is surrounded by areas which have been undergoing significant
redevelopment and support approximately 500 jobs in 30 businesses. Our design,
borne out of extensive 6+ year community engagement and visioning, reimagines
the area as an exemplary, mixed-use, distinctive neighbourhood offering a
unique blend of jobs and homes, with a public realm that creates an urban
environment that is, in the words of local residents, “the nicest, greenest, most
sustainable and safest place to live and work it can possibly be”.
To support the growth of local
businesses, our plan devised with the community, was to extensively redevelop lower-grade
industrial units, which currently occupy 10,000 square metres, moving from
low-density, single-storey units to multi-level spaces fit for modern industry,
trebling capacity to 30,000 square metres and adding 1000’s of new production
jobs to the local economy.
As well as strengthening the public
realm and unique industrial character of the area, our proposal allowed for the
creation of 750 new homes that will be offered for rent through the London
Borough of Camden as 100 per cent affordable housing, a plan that not only
provides much-needed housing for local residents, but will provide a long-term housing
revenue for the council.
This large-scale scheme
embodies a unique, community-led vision that preserves a mixed-used, industrial
heritage going back centuries. By using a funding structure that is long-term
and sustainable, our progressive plan provides security for residents and
businesses, and creates an asset whose value for the London Borough of Camden
goes far beyond a traditional one-off payment from a private developer. It is
an exciting project for the council and local residents, and one that we are
proud to have been part of shaping with the Camley Street community from the start.
The project was exhibited for
the Oslo Triennale in 2019 and has been a focus point for a series of lectures
and events at The Royal Academy of Arts, London, Royal College of Art and Paul Karakusevic’s talks and lectures at leading universities and institutions in the UK, Europe and Internationally.