The Reader: King’s Cross ‘success’ has destroyed the local community

YOUR editorial on Tuesday refers to the King’s Cross redevelopment as “a triumph” [“King’s Cross success”, April 23]. Some of us who have lived in or worked around King’s Cross for decades take a different view.

The development led to some poorer residents losing their homes. Some small local businesses, which served the community, were forced out to make way for others that are of little use to many locals (even if they could afford to use them).

In addition, there was the loss of a large area of publicly owned land which could, and should, have housed much-needed public infrastructure but was given over to shops for the environment-destroying elite and offices owned by billionaires.

If this all was a triumph, it was a triumph for the supporters of a society that makes the poor poorer and the rich richer — and one that has lost any sense of what it means to be part of a community.
Albert Beale


Dear Albert

Like you, I have known the King’s Cross area for many years. By any measure the transformation from the squalid, run-down wasteland of old is nothing less than remarkable. Should we not be celebrating the fact that global brands such as Google, Facebook and Nike want to move there?

But it is not all big business. In 2011 Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design chose to relocate to King’s Cross. The publicly owned land you refer to had been abandoned for decades and left to the junkies and prostitutes that made King’s Cross so notorious. Lewis Cubitt’s magnificently refurbished station is now a place to enjoy, not somewhere to scuttle through with your head down.

The wonderful Victorian industrial buildings behind the station that were once fenced off and crumbling are restored and enjoyed by thousands of Londoners every day.

We should all surely be proud of a regeneration that rightly sets a benchmark all over the world. It is hard to think of any other urban renewal that is more deserving of being described as “a triumph”.

Jonathan Prynn, Consumer Business Affairs Editor

Climate protests cannot be ignored

As ONE of more than 1,000 Extinction Rebellion peaceful arrestees, I want to explain why we felt we had to step outside the law to tell the Government to speed up radically the civilisational changes that are necessary for our survival.

Seven months ago, the UN Secretary General said unless humanity started cutting carbon emissions radically within two years we faced extinction from runaway climate breakdown.

London is at the heart of a fossil-fuel expansion. If that money was invested in a zero-carbon economy, it could help save humanity and nature.

We regret the inconvenience that our protests have caused some Londoners but millions recognise it is insignificant compared to the dire consequences of the climate and ecological emergencies.

Theresa May must declare a climate emergency and work with the media to inform the public of the crisis we face. Our children’s survival depends on our success.
Donnachadh McCarthy
Extinction Rebellion

Keep journeys dry

I AGREE with Laura Weir [“Is a tipple on the train really so bad?”, April 23]. Having a “sly snifter” can be very pleasant on a long and boring public transport journey. But where do you draw the line? I’ve experienced, as have many, others boarding public transport, drinking, then being loud and abusive to passengers and staff. I applaud TfL for its anti-booze law.
Eric McGhee