Today (Tuesday, 21 May) Heritage Minister Michael Ellis attended the signing of a Heritage Partnership Agreement (HPA) at King’s Cross Station with Historic England, Network Rail and Camden Council. The HPA helps to ensure the efficient future management of the nationally significant site by streamlining the formal listed building consent process.
As a Grade I listed building, even small changes at King’s Cross Station which affect its historic or architectural significance need to be agreed with the planning authority and Historic England before being granted Listed Building Consent by Camden Council.
This new HPA will streamline and simplify this process, as more minor works no longer need formal consent. This will make managing the building much easier, saving time and money, while protecting what is special about it. The HPA has been founded on the shared knowledge that the special qualities of this outstanding building are well understood and its character will be carefully looked after by Network Rail, while allowing its on-going use a major railway terminus.
Heritage Minister, Michael Ellis, said: “Protecting our listed buildings is of paramount importance for preserving our nation’s heritage. I am very pleased that this agreement will allow King’s Cross Station to efficiently carry out essential work while ensuring that the unique architecture of this Grade I building is safeguarded.”
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “The recent major extension and inspiring conservation project at King’s Cross proves that heritage and busy infrastructure can be entwined. The project shows that through close partnership working, combined with expertise and a passion for our heritage, exceptional, vibrant places can be shaped for everyone to enjoy. This new HPA agreement builds on this project, ensuring King’s Cross station can continue to be efficiently looked after for the future.”
Tom Higginson, Director of Planning and Land Services for Network Rail, said: “We are always looking for ways we can run the station more efficiently and this agreement, which is a first for Network Rail, is a perfect example of that.
“We have worked incredibly closely with Historic England and Camden Council and this agreement will save all of us time, which can now be spent in other areas, and means that passengers can benefit from improvements to the station more quickly. This will also help to reduce our costs, which is incredibly important to us as a tax-payer funded organisation.”
Councillor Danny Beales, Camden Council Cabinet Member for Investing in Communities and an Inclusive Economy said: “This is an impressive outcome that is testament to the positive and helpful approach of all the parties involved.
“Camden is rich with architectural gems, including King’s Cross Station, one of the best known locations within the borough. The station will now benefit from the clear approach set out in the Heritage Partnership Agreement and the council’s desire to protect all our historical buildings, whilst facilitating the changes that these working buildings require.”
Statutory HPAs were introduced in 2013 as a result of reform powers from government that help manage change efficiently whilst maintaining the special qualities of a place.
King’s Cross joins a handful of statutory HPAs including Stow Maries Airfield in Essex, Battersea Power Station in London and the University of Sussex.
The newly signed agreement at King’s Cross is a pioneering project and Historic England hopes it will inspire other similar sites to consider it as an option for sound, efficient management of our heritage.