New Waitrose gets green light

Posted: Friday 9th May 2014
  • Due to open to the public in 2015, restored buildings will house a new 29,000sq ft Waitrose supermarket and 2,400 sq ft cookery school, as well as a new events and cultural space
  • Bennetts Associates-designed scheme will sensitively convert and breathe new life into disused Victorian buildings, formerly used as a railway passenger terminal
  • The project forms part of the ongoing transformation of King’s Cross, creating new jobs and providing new retail, cultural and education facilities

Camden Council has today approved proposals for the conversion of the historic Midland Goods Shed and East Handyside Canopy at King’s Cross. The scheme, designed by leading firm of architects Bennetts Associates, will see the two structures sensitively restored and converted into a new Waitrose supermarket and cookery school, as well as a separate events and cultural space.

Built in 1850, the Midland Goods Shed started life as a temporary passenger terminal, used while today’s King’s Cross station was being built. Queen Victoria departed from here on her way to Scotland in 1851. After the completion of King’s Cross station, the building was used for handling and storing goods that were brought into King’s Cross from across the country. The East Handyside Canopy was added in 1888 to provide a covered space for the transfer of potatoes and other perishable goods from rail to horse and cart.

This heritage of trade and food will be continued, through an imaginative conversion. Bennetts Associates, which has a reputation for its expertise in restoration and sustainability, has created designs that are intended to preserve the distinctive Victorian character of robust brickwork, sturdy cast iron structures and delicate roof trusses. Similarly, the design takes advantage of the grand spaces created by the original architecture of the Midland Goods Shed and the lofty height of the East Handyside Canopy.

Speaking about the new supermarket and cookery school, Waitrose Director of Development, Nigel Keen, commented:

“We welcome the council’s decision to approve the plans and look forward to playing our part in the continued regeneration of King’s Cross, including the creation of significant employment opportunities, and building on the success of our first cookery school in Finchley Road. As a food retailer, we have a responsibility to help educate and inspire people, not only when it comes to their weekly shop but also when it comes to creating and enjoying good food. The combination of a quality food shop alongside the new cookery school will help us achieve that.”

Speaking about the designs, Will Colthorpe of Argent, the Asset Manager for KCCLP, said:

“The Midland Goods Shed and its canopy are important heritage buildings, and their new incarnations as retail, office and events spaces will mean more people are able to appreciate and enjoy them.”

Speaking about the project, Julian Lipscombe, Director at Bennetts Associates, said:

“This is a wonderful moment in the life of the project. We have been involved since 2005 and are now finally able to realise the vision. Our aspiration is that it will be another crowning glory for Kings Cross through its combination of rich heritage, bold modern additions and unique mix of uses.”

Construction is anticipated to start later this year with the facilities due to open at King’s Cross in 2015.

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