‘Extraordinary project’: First phase of Camden Highline gets lift-off despite residents’ concerns over privacy

What Camden’s answer to New York’s raised park could look like. Image: Hayes Davidson

The first phase of an “amazing park in the sky” which could attract millons of visitors and boost biodiversity has won the green light.

Work can begin on transforming a stretch of disused railway from Camden Gardens to Regent College Road into London’s answer to the popular New York High Line.

Residents living nearby in Ivor Street and surrounding streets told Camden planning committee of their concerns about privacy and noise from up to ten evening events a year.

The Camden Highline is predicted to attract 2.5m visitors a year when all three phases of the 1.2km route from Camden Town to Kings Cross are fully open.

Fiona Trier said their streets are an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Camden Town.

“It is more important than ever to us to protect our quiet residential spaces.”

She said: “We need a safe and secure perimeter when the park is closed, with vigilance when it is open during the daytime to prevent anti social behaviour.”

It is “inappropriate” to direct visitors to a viewing point overlooking homes, she added.

She pointed out that many of the homes are above the Victorian viaduct and the level of thicket planting which is designed to cut noise.

Residents are concerned about viewing points that draw tourists with their camera to look into properties at the end of end Ivor Street.

“This is a privacy issue, we are talking about people photographing the houses and popping it on social media.”

The designs have been altered to draw footpaths back from areas near people’s homes.

The council’s planning department said the seating areas will be 26m away from homes.

James Corner who built the New York Highline told the planning committee: “The pathway is pulled away from the wall. The planting forms a visual and sound buffer for residents and visitors. We will be using smaller trees – 4 to 6m high and spaced very closely to create a thicket.”

Camden Highline boss Simon Pitkeathley said: “This is going to be an amazing park in the sky for all.”

He said it was essential to have the support of the community and work with them.

“We not only want to create an amazing park in the sky but we want it to remain an amazing park in the sky.”

More than 1,300 people have joined guided walks along the route and 2,000 have attended meetings to learn more.

He said: “It is a extraordinary green project that will benefit Camden and London as a whole.”

Architect Tatiana von Preussen of vPPR said the blueprint has been altered to take in concerns about overlooking.

“It’s going to be something very special and will promote recreation with seating and there will be options for exercise.”

She said kiosks in the arches at Camden Gardens will help pay for it and transform an “unloved park.”

Camden’s planning committee wanted details of toilets to address residents’ fears. They also called for an interim review after the first events to see how they are going.

1 Comment

  1. Martin B on Saturday 29 April 2023 at 5:14 pm

    This is a really stupid idea: turning the trackbeds adjacent to Camden Road station that are currently disused into a walk / cycle way would prevent the extension of the Overground’s East London Line services which currently terminate at Highbury and Islington, as well as making any restoration of through running between Camden Road and the Watford DC line much more difficult! Why are tourists being prioritised over ordinary Londoners, yet again?

    I feel for the residents who are going to be affected by this project too – I wouldn’t wish to be used as unpaid ‘local colour’ for visitors either.

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