A Pizza Good News (sorry)

Now, we know that everyone’s feeling the January blues, and that the most ridiculous media invention ever is just around …

Now, we know that everyone’s feeling the January blues, and that the most ridiculous media invention ever is just around the corner (“Blue Monday”, on either Jan 16 or 23, according to which press office you believe), so today we underline some recent good news: the iconic former poly on the corner of Kentish Town and Prince Of Wales Roads is to be saved. TO BE SAVED. (If you were away at Xmas, it was reported in the Camden New Journal here.)

This is even closer to my own heart as the boyfriend and I are lucky enough to live at 1 Prince Of Wales Road. And you may remember The Kentishtowner first covered this story a year ago, and again in October when we encouraged readers to get behind our petition – showed you the full horror of what redevelopment could look like.

So it was with immense relief that, just before Christmas, we learnt that the residents’ appeal had been successful for the second time – and the planning inspector had thrown out the developers’ evil scheme. This marks the end of an arduous five-year battle against the project, since it was originally awarded planning permission in 2007.

And, as the New Journal reported, Whitehall inspector Louise Crosby said the building was ‘a significant heritage asset and must not be destroyed,’ sparking celebrations across the board. Hoo-bloody-ray for that.

The paper also reported that our favourite local historian Gillian Tindall, who wrote The Fields Beneath, attended the hearing. She said (and you’ve gotta love her for this): ‘While not a building of enormous distinction in itself, it is a much-loved local landmark and an integral part of the streetscape.’

Go, Gillian.

But, an addendum: much as we love the wood-fired stuff (and, contrary to popular belief, there is no ‘secret corridor’ between the flats and the restaurant), we’re not convinced that a branch of Pizza Express is the best use of this architecturally stunning building. So now we all know it’s safe, if the chain ain’t turning over the dough (sorry again), maybe we should think about what it could house instead?

And before everyone comes out in favour of the status quo, we want to reiterate that we quite like this particular branch. Mostly because it’s on the doorstep. And yes, it’s very good for families and children’s parties. But surely an art gallery or cinema would be nice, or, if it must be pizza-related, how about a much-needed North London branch of the fabulous Pizza East?

Words: Ellie Baskett


  • Show Comments

  • alistair mcintosh

    Kentish Town should go independent like the Jox – soon we will be linked by fast trains!

    The poly could be our parliament

    That’ll show Cameron

  • Kentishtowner

    What a great idea. The interior would make a perfect parliament – particularly if we kept Pizza Express on a retainer to feed us whilst we pass a law or two. Actually sod that, let’s hire Arancini Brothers.

    • Kentishtowner

      Oh, and on Twitter the ideas police have been in full force. ‘Turn it into a cinema or theatre!’ says @getoffmyLAN, ‘a hippy commune full of love and happiness’, says @sophiahough; and ‘anything would be better than the Pizza ‘Express’ with its slow and disinterested customer service,’ offers SuaveDJ. Keep ’em coming….

  • Sam Picano

    I don’t have anything against pizza express but one goes there for the pizza, not the architecture. So why not let the building be used for something where the interior can be appreciated and not just the glorious dough balls.

  • alistair mcintosh

    Compromise comrades

    Keep the Italian theme – Keep the independence theme

    BERLUSCONI for Kentis Town PM

    Forza Fortress Road!!!!

  • Tania

    Kentish Town needs an Independent Cinema! NOW!!

  • aviwoo

    I think the cinema was over the road from the poly building next to Olivers on PoW Rd. It looks intact from the outside, it would be interesting to see what remains within.

  • alistair mcintosh

    aviwoo – I can help – it was refurbished in the 1980s as camden housing aid and law centre – I worked there – nothing left of cinema as I recall

  • Richard

    I too used to live at 1 PWR with my bedroom backing directly onto the restaurant. I once dreamed of putting a pizza box hatch in the wall for convenience.

    Cinema Idea = nice but the small independents are losing money so Kentish Town would not work and too small.

    Art Gallery = They did that with the church down the road with it’s hit and miss collection, probably don’t need another one, presides one would have to add additional wall for hanging which would loose the essence of the space.

    Maybe, being controversial, the space would make an excellent bar/club. Too many old/boring people have managed to shut down other bars/clubs in the area and so new are required and it is about time Camden/Kentish Town became what is once used to be…Fun, Hip and Bohemian rather than the boring trend of being boring, stuffy and gentrified that the area is/has become.

    Let’s get back to the way it used to be!

    Those people who disagree…well move on if you can no longer take the pace!!!!!