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.’
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