Thursday 26 Sep 2013
Start of a new chapter for King’s Cross - London’s newest public space is declared open
- King’s Cross Square is officially opened by Secretary of State for Transport, Mayor of London and Network Rail chief executive
- New 75,000 sq ft King’s Cross Square is the final part of the £550m redevelopment of King’s Cross station
- Redevelopment has helped to attract £2.2bn of private investment into a previously largely derelict and disused 67 acre site, including 2,000 new homes
An exciting new chapter in the 160-year history of King’s Cross station began today when the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Network Rail’s chief executive, Sir David Higgins today (26 September, 11:30am) declared the new King’s Cross Square officially open. The occasion was marked by the pulling of a Victorian railway signal lever and explosion of streamer canons.
The 75,000 sq ft public space is the final part of the £550m redevelopment of King’s Cross station to be completed and follows the renovation of the original station building and its platforms and the construction of the spectacular new western concourse, which opened to passengers in March 2012. The demolition of the unloved 1970s concourse and the creation of King’s Cross Square in its place means the Grade 1 listed station’s full historic façade can be seen in all its glory for the first time for 150 years.
Designed by architects Stanton Williams, the square is big enough to accommodate Big Ben clock tower laid down lengthways and offers rail users, local people and those now moving to work and study in the area a brand new open space as well as improved entrances to the London Underground, an area dedicated to public art, and a stunning lighting scheme to highlight the area’s architectural features.
Early morning commuters were welcomed to the new square by Victorian-themed ‘living statues’ who entertained people in the space, giving a nod to the station’s heritage in what is London’s newest public open space.
Speaking at the grand opening, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said, “I have been travelling to and from my Derbyshire Constituency for years and I remember when King’s Cross and St Pancras were not places you would hang around. Now it is a destination in its own right.
“The official opening of King’s Cross Square marks the completion of one of the largest station modernisation projects across our national rail network and one of the government’s top infrastructure projects. With more platforms, a redesigned concourse and improved facilities, work at this iconic station has transformed the experience of thousands of rail passengers travelling into London for the better.
“It has also been the catalyst for one of the largest regeneration schemes in Europe, attracting £2.2bn of private investment and allowing the ongoing development of more than 60 acres of brown-field land into offices and retail space and the construction of 2,000 new homes for Londoners.
“Major investment in our railways is just one part of a pipeline of over £100 billion worth of public investment in infrastructure projects over the next parliament announced by government earlier this year. By investing in our infrastructure we are helping build growth in our economy over the long term.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said, “The transformation of King’s Cross is not only beautiful but it has also triggered all sorts of regeneration, with new jobs, huge numbers of homes being built and businesses relocating here. What has emerged is a fantastic open space which has led to the creation of a whole new vibrant district. It is the perfect example of a point I have always made, if you support good transport links the jobs and growth will follow.”
David Higgins, Network Rail chief executive, added: “Today we mark the coronation of King’s Cross, and finally give the new-look station and surrounding area the entrance they deserve.
“The investment into the station’s redevelopment has been a catalyst for more than £2.2bn of private investment to the area, an area that is swiftly becoming one of our capitals’ most vibrant and thriving places to be.
“The attraction of unrivalled transport links has successfully caught the attention of both global and UK businesses to date, together with hundreds of new residents and the student body at the University of the Arts London campus.
“I’m confident King’s Cross will continue to flourish. This is just the beginning of a new chapter.”
Last year, King’s Cross station welcomed the opening of the brand new western concourse, providing rail passengers three-and-a-half times more space than the 1970s concourse that it replaced. Since the new concourse opened, passenger satisfaction at the station has increased by 33%.
Now declared open, the celebrations will continue into the weekend (Saturday 28 – Sunday 29 September) with a Victorian-inspired carnival taking place across the King’s Cross area including King’s Cross Square, the Boulevard, and Granary Square. Celebrating the area’s historical roots, traditional fairground rides, food stalls, and entertainment will be open to passengers and the local community to enjoy.
Notes to editors
Comments from King’s Cross re-development partners:
Murphy CEO John Stack said, “Murphy is very proud to be playing a key role in the regeneration of King’s Cross Station and the local area with this fantastic new public space. The project has overcome many challenges, and collaboration and innovation have been central to its successful delivery.”
Alan Stanton, director of Stanton Williams, said, “As architects, we were delighted to work on King’s Cross Square and to develop a response to one of the most exciting urban challenges in the city. The design of this unique new public space takes into account all complexities of the site, from its function as arrivals concourse for the station, to the structures of the London Underground system below, to create a welcoming orientation and meeting space as the final step to the regeneration of this landmark station."
John McAslan, Chairman of John McAslan + Partners, added, ”We are very proud of our role as lead architects and master-planners of the King's Cross redevelopment.
This project has been a complex, extraordinary and collaborative effort that has delivered an internationally significant transport interchange, fit for the 21st century and beyond.”
Mike Byrne, Director, Arup commented, “As engineers, we are proud of the role we have played in the expansive regeneration of King’s Cross Station and the surrounding areas. Collaborating closely with all the project partners we have achieved yet another significant milestone in the sympathetic restoration of this historic station.”
London Underground: King’s Cross St Pancras Tube station is one of the oldest and busiest stations on the Tube network. Out of 11 lines on the Tube network, six serve the station. In 2000 redevelopment works began to increase capacity at the station this included rebuilding the existing ticket hall, building two additional ticket halls and making the station step free. Work was completed in 2010.
King’s Cross Square – key features include:
- 75,000 square feet
- Two improved entrances to London Underground
- Two new retail units
- An area dedicated to public art – details of a high profile installation to be announced soon
- 19 new trees
- Solid granite benches
- A stunning lighting scheme
Restoring the station
The Grade 1 listed building, designed by Lewis Cubitt in 1852, has been restored in partnership with English Heritage: the facade will be revealed for the first time in 150 years and original features have been retained to safeguard the architectural integrity of the station.
King’s Cross station redevelopment
Since work started in 2007, Network Rail has built a new platform (Platform 0), built the new concourse, restored the Eastern and Western Range offices, which run the length of the station, and replaced the historic Handyside bridge with an accessible footbridge. To date, not a single train has been cancelled due to the work. The new concourse has provided improved facilities including better lighting, larger destination boards, clearer station announcements and more shops and restaurants.
An engine for economic growth - transforming the local environment
The redevelopment has been a catalyst for one of the largest regeneration schemes in Europe, with 67 acres of brown-field land being redeveloped to home 50 new buildings, 2,000 new homes, 20 new streets, 10 new public squares, 67 acres, and 45,000 people who live, work and study in the area. Tenants include Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design moved into renovated railway buildings to the north of the station in 2011, and BNP Paribus, Camden Council and Google are coming soon. For more information please visit http://www.kingscross.co.uk/the-development
A green station
Solar panels have been added to the renovated train sheds at the apex of the lanterns to minimise visual impact. They will cover 2,500m² and generate 10% of the station’s energy requirements.
About the King’s Cross Business Partnership
King’s Cross Business Partnership Ltd (KXBP) was formed in 2011 by local organisations with a view to influencing and coordinating change within the King’s Cross and St Pancras area. KXBP currently works towards five key strategic aims:
- To promote the King’s Cross & St Pancras area
- To improve the local environment for residents, employees, customers and visitors
- To support the wider community through a Corporate Social Responsibility programme
- To act as one voice to influence local and London-wide policies, and;
- To develop the area as a business location
KXBP membership includes a cross-section of businesses, all of which are based within the King’s Cross and St Pancras area, for example King’s Cross Central Ltd Partnership, Eurostar, HS1, The Guardian, EC Harris, Grant Thornton, King’s Place, Green & Fortune and Macmillan.
KXBP members give their time and expertise, share resources and are committed to demonstrating that, as a collective voice for business, they can achieve a positive change in the area through working in partnership with key community organisations and public service providers. Further information can be found at www.kingscrossandstpancras.com
- For the financial year 2012/2013, retail sales volume for King’s Cross station’s Western Concourse doubled to £41m based on the previous year
- Coffee Dogs and Giraffe have already signed up as partners of the new King’s Cross Square retail space
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.