Camley Street Community Land Trust and sustainability zone is an ambitious community‑led development to create a mixed‑use neighbourhood of high‑quality, affordable council homes and light industry in North London. The project began in 2014 when 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.
For six years, we worked directly with residents and local businesses through the Camley Street Neighbourhood Forum to create a detailed masterplan, planning strategy and set of architectural proposals that could transform the area into a place that would be capable of offering an interesting mix of jobs and homes in a green, sustainable and safe urban environment.
The neighbourhood is located on a 3ha sliver of land bordering the main Kings Cross redevelopment zone and is surrounded by areas which have been undergoing significant redevelopment. The site is home to 30 small businesses and supports c.500 jobs. To support the growth and retention of local businesses, our designs extensively redevelop the lower‑grade industrial units, which currently occupy 10,000 sqm, and propose a shift from low‑density, single‑storey units to multi‑level spaces fit for modern industry and treble capacity to 30,000sqm and adding 1000’s of new production jobs to the local economy. As well as strengthening the public realm and the industrial character of the area, our proposal allows for the creation of 750 locally affordable new homes rented directly through Camden Council.
By creating a funding structure that is long‑term and sustainable, the project provides security for residents and businesses and creates an asset whose value for Camden Council goes far beyond a traditional one‑off payment from a private developer. It is an exciting project for the council and one that we are proud to have been part of shaping with the Camley Street community from the start.
The project was exhibited at the 2019 Oslo Triennale and has been the focus of events at The Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal College of Art in London and at leading universities in the UK and internationally via talks and lectures by Paul Karakusevic.