‘Shining example’: Multimillion-pound plans for Camden Highline given a lift despite police concerns

An impression of what the Highline could look like. Image: Hayes Davidson

The team behind ambitious plans to create a 1.2km walkway along disused railway tracks in Camden has high hopes of transforming it into a new attraction.

The Camden Highline group has asked for permission to get started on the first phase of the multimillion-pound work.

Once completed, the route from Camden Gardens to York Way near St Pancras station could attract more than two million people a year.

The first phase includes a high-level garden on a viaduct, access at Royal College Street, commercial kiosks in some of the arches, seating, a pedestrian walkway, event spaces, and a woodland balcony.

The first section is 260m long and people will be able to join it from Camden Gardens on Kentish Town Road and at the crossroad between Camden Road and Royal College Street.

There will also be a lift and viewing platform.

The scheme is inspired by the 2.3km New York High Line.

The National Trust praised it as “a shining example of considerate, publicly guided, socially conscious planning that celebrates these vital benefits and aims to improve London’s infrastructure in an environmentally responsible way.”

The police have raised concerns and steps are needed to design out crime, such as hiding places for weapons or stashes of drugs.

They said: “The Highline will be prominent, although the nature of the park will mean that it is completely obscured from view of any general police patrol.

“This could be picked up upon by criminal gangs who may seek to exploit this less observed route. It is key therefore that there are good lines of sight and excellent lighting in this area.

“There should also be reduced areas for potential concealment of persons, weapons or drugs.”

They asked for a contribution of £132,000 to help with the extra policing demands.

There have been 57 letters of objection with concerns about security, crime and noise.

Tenants Residents Associations Camden Town (TRACT) said it is concerned about the noise and impact on nearby homes. They fear the route could overlook some nearby houses.

The council also received 346 letters of support from people who want to see new life breathed back into the unloved land.

The planning committee will consider the plans for the first phase at their meeting on Thursday 19 January. They have been advised by planning officers to approve it.

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