Final meeting of the St Giles Renaissance Forum

Backdated from previous BA Website

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Open Meeting, St Giles Church, St Giles High Street

Tuesday 8 March 2005 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Meeting Notes

1.    Background
The purpose of the St Giles Renaissance Forum is to promote and enhance the area and to explore ways of working together to create a Vision for St Giles. The St Giles Renaissance Steering Group, is made up of landowners, businesses, community representatives and other stakeholders including Camden as observers, which usually meets once a month.  Landowners in the St Giles area have funded the process and have asked John Thompson and Partners (community planners, urban designers and architects) to facilitate and arrange these meetings.

2.    Attendance
There was a good attendance with 45 people signing the attendance list from a wide range of local interests including residents.  An attendance list is attached.

3.    Introduction
Bill Jacob, Chair of the Steering Group, welcomed everybody, explained the purpose of the meeting and handed over to Charles Campion who facilitated the meeting.

4.    Cross Rail / London Underground
Toren Smith (Cross Rail) and Alan Thompson (LUL) explained briefly the programme for the work at Tottenham Court Road.  Questions from the Forum related largely to tunnelling and concerns over vibration and noise during construction and when the trains eventually operate.  It was explained that Cross Rail would run about 30m underground, around the same depth as the Central Line.

In response to a question about the St Giles Renaissance Forum campaign to change the name of Tottenham Court Road Station to St Giles Circus, Alan Thompson said that it was “one of the more sensible proposals” for a name change” but emphasised that convenience and cost were important factors as was timing.  A show of hands by attendees at the Forum showed a big majority in favour of pursuing a name change.

5.    St Giles Court
Jeremy Castle from Legal and General introduced Maurits van der Staay (Renzo Piano Building Workshop) Luke Akehurst (GJW Weber Shandwick – Community Relations Consultant) and Huw Moseley (Moseley & Webb – planning consultant).  He then went on to present the planning application for the new mixed use development proposal at St Giles Court.  Concern was expressed from the floor in relation to a suggestion from one of the supporting documents in the planning application that the railings be removed from St Giles church yard.  There was also concern about potential for disturbance to the existing residential community in the area emanating from the proposals the bar/restaurant uses.  Jeremy Castle explained that the possible removal of the railings was part of a package of potential improvements to the St Giles area that are not included in the St Giles Court application, but are for discussion with Camden and the local community.

No decision has yet been taken as to whether to build the new scheme speculatively or to build subject to pre-letting.  If all goes well demolition could start by the end of the year.  There was concern about inconvenience and noise and dust from construction and Jeremy Castle said that L&G will sign up to the considerate construction scheme.  David Reidy from Camden said that there could be a conditions/legal agreement signed to ensure that the work was carried out during the hours specified.  There may also be a Construction Liaison Group established.  There was some discussion about Section 106 agreement and the need for co-ordination of the environmental improvement works that are undertaken to ensure that they are completed when the new development is completed.

Barrington Bowie from Camden explained the programme for the planning application.  18 March is the official deadline for comments on the Planning Application although in reality comments will be accepted up to the morning of the Planning Committee..

6.    Other matters
Charles Campion updated the Forum on:

Terry Farrell Study
A study was being undertaken by Terry Farrell architects on behalf of TFL, Camden and British Land looking at the Euston Road / Tottenham Court Road area.  This tied in with another study by Heida which was looking at the Tottenham Court Road / Gower Street system.  Guy Denham of Terry Farrell had said they would be prepared to come to the Steering Group/Forum to present their ideas.

Making Spaces for Londoners
The GLA has a Making Spaces for Londoners programme which can focus on and promote the enhancement of key spaces in London.  The Steering Group is keen that St Giles Circus should be taken on as one of these spaces.

Consolidated owners of Denmark Place and 21-31 New Oxford Street, the Post Office site, were expected but did not attend the Forum.  It was hoped that there would be some news on one or both of their sites soon.

Finally in relation to St Giles Circus, Peter Hendy, Head of Surface Transport, TFL had offered a meeting to explain issues in relation to the buses and the Circus.

7.    Break and informal discussion
The Forum then broke for coffee and after the break attendees went round informally asking questions of Camden, L&G and LUL and looking at the model of the proposals for St Giles Court.  Two new members for the Steering Group were recruited – James Williams from Shaftesbury Theatre and Gary Mitchell from TomTom.

8.    Date of next meeting
To be arranged.

John Thompson & Partners
22 March 2005

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