The Royal Mail intends to develop a substantial part of its sorting office site at Mount Pleasant over the next decade, while continuing to operate from the existing building which is in the process of being modernised. Both Royal Mail and the two boroughs of Islington and Camden are in the process of consulting the public about this major project, and this webpage will attempt to keep pace with developments as the occur
- Pro-Forma For Planning Objections
- Non-Technical Summary – June 2013
- Planning Statement – April 2013
- Mount Pleastant Forum Meeting 10 July 2013 minutes
- Mount Pleasant Forum Meeting 14 January 2013 minutes
- Mount Pleasant boards – March 2013
- Mount Pleasant boards
- Mount Pleasant Public Presentation
- Mount Pleasant Supplementary Planning Document
- Mount Pleasant Forum Meeting 14 November 2012 minutes
On the 14th – 16th March Royal Mail staged their final exhibition of the development at the Holy Redeemer Church which depicted the scheme which they intended to put forward in their planning application. They formally applied to the Camden and Islington Councils for planning permission shortly afterwards, but it took a long time for the application to be validated. Finally on 21st June the planning application was put out for public consultation with a deadline of the 1st August for comments. In reality the public have at least until the end of August to respond as the council will take comments up until the application is presented to the planning committee.
On the 9th of July the Mount Pleasant Forum held a meeting to discuss the application. There were clearly concerns that the application was very long and complex and the time given to read, understand and comment was short. A proforma letter listing objections to the development was compiled by one of the members of the forum and there is a link to this and the minutes of the forum meeting above. The planning application can be found on the Islington Council website, the application number is P2013/1423/FUL. The Non technical Summary and the Planning Statement are probably the most accessible documents to read and these are available above.
The Camden Development Forum Meeting at the Holiday Inn went ahead on 14th November 2012. A large number of people attended and the chair, an Islington Planning Officer, had some difficulty controlling the meeting. Those who spoke were almost universally hostile to the development and the points made had varying degrees of merit. There was a fairly unanimous view that the buildings were too tall and everyone would welcome a reduction in their size. The planning officers and architects made it clear that they were guided by the Supplementary Planning Document which had been put together after public consultation and with reference to other policy documents including the London Plan. Both Councils were committed to providing as much housing on the site as possible , 750 housing units had been accepted as the target number, which in turn would influence the size of the buildings.
An inaugural meeting of the Mount Pleasant Forum had been delayed because of the Camden meeting, and consequently took place on 14th January 2013. This was a much smaller, calmer and more productive meeting. All the neighbouring streets were represented by local residents, and employees from Camden and Islington Planning Department and Indigo Public Affairs were present to take notes and answer questions.
There is a link to the minutes of both meetings at the top of the page and those who are interested in what was discussed should read them in full. There are also links to the proposals themselves.
The planning application for the site will probably be made in March when the design proposals will be much more clearly defined. At present the number of affordable and private homes has yet to be negotiated between the two Councils and Royal Mail. There will be a further opportunity to comment on the development in response to the planning application when views will need to be submitted to the Councils’ Planning Office.
Comments about the development proposals from individuals carry as much weight as collective views and petitions, so if you have something to say at this stage you will need to contact Royal Mail via Indigo Public Affairs at:
Tel: 0800 458 6976
Indigo Public Affairs
Room E 409
Westminster Business Square
Camden Council is holding a meeting for the public of the Camden Development Management Forum in the Bloomsbury Suite of the Holiday Inn Hotel, 1 Kings Cross Road between 6.30 and 8.30 on Wednesday 14 the November 2012. Royal Mail are presenting their ideas concerning the development of the site and the public will be able to ask questions and give their views. Although Camden Council has organised the meeting, they are holding it jointly with Islington Council. Although the content sounds much the same, this meeting differs from the Exhibition held at the Holy Redeemer in that it is being organised by the Councils, whereas the Exhibition was put on by Royal Mail. The planning department of both councils and Councillors will be at the Holiday Inn. These are the people who will have the most influence over the final design and function of the site, therefore this is an important meeting for the public to have their say before the development plans get too fixed.
Royal Mail, who will eventually be making a planning application to develop the site, held an exhibition at the Holy Redeemer Church in Exmouth market on 18th – 20th October which was organised by Indigo, a planning consultation company. It is quite unusual to have a consultation at such an early stage, but Royal Mail say that they are keen to consult the public and get their views so that planning mistakes are not made that people who live and work in the area could have spotted had they been asked. The exhibition had a better attendance than the previous one which had informed the Islington and Camden Councils’ joint supplementary planning document where the two Councils’ aspirations for the site are set out.
The Amwell Society subsequently held a small meeting with some of its members most closely affected by the development and John Greenshields from Indigo. While the people who attended the meeting were broadly in favour of the development, they were concerned that the buildings on the Farringdon Road side were too tall, nine storeys are proposed. There were also concerns about the Royal Mail traffic, although they were reassured that there would be no juggernauts based at Mount Pleasant. There was also a request that money available for the community from Royal Mail’s planning obligations should be spent locally on infrastructure projects.
The Mount Pleasant Forum
Probably because the Mount Pleasant site is non-residential and is owned by one organisation there has been no co-ordinated public interest in its development shown so far. However, following the setting up of the Kings Cross Neighbourhood Forum, to give the local residents and businesses some oversight of and influence on the huge Kings Cross development, it was considered important to do something similar for Mount Pleasant. There is no intention at present to set up a formal neighbourhood forum as described in the Localism Act, because it would be a complicated and time consuming business, and the powers that that process would give the group should not be necessary to achieve the desired level of influence. Indigo have the names of about 25 individuals and organisations whom they intend to contact. We thought it would be useful if some, if not all, of these people got together independently to see if there was scope for a more co-ordinated response, while at the same time working with Indigo and the two Councils. If you are interested in being part of a forum particularly as a representative of a group, please contact Darian Mitchell on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any individual wishing to be kept informed about the Mount Pleasant development should check this website for updates.
The Royal Mail intends to develop a substantial part of its sorting office site at Mount Pleasant over the next decade and beyond, although it will continue to operate from the existing building. Three quarters of the site is located in Islington and a quarter in Camden. The two councils together have produced a supplementary planning document following a period of consultation with local residents and businesses. (Link to website) This document refers to both councils’ planning and development policies which will influence the project, and gives some illustrations as to how the site might look, which are in not binding, but are intended to promote comment and discussion.
In some respects there is a lot of scope to influence the detail of this very substantial development, but the overall purpose seems to be firmly established. It is described as residential led with some mixed use. The major part of the site will be housing, 700 units with over a third social rented including 200 family units, plus office/workshop space and retail/A3 use. The amount of non-residential units is not specified. The planners give a lot of attention to the immediate area surrounding Mount Pleasant and the developers are keen to improve what already exists, recognising that the public space at the four corners of the site is of dubious quality. They also acknowledge that areas, particularly green spaces at some distance from the site, such as Granville Square and Wilmington Square and Spa Green will be affected by the development.
Royal Mail is very keen to consult the public to get their views. To this end they have commissioned a planning consultation company called Indigo, who will take on the task of consulting the public on behalf of the Royal Mail. The Amwell Society believes that an informal neighbourhood forum would also be beneficial in order to co-ordinate the views of the people who live and work in the area. This is a long term project which will be constructed in stages, and it is estimated that it will take at least six or seven years to complete.