“This is a great example of how big developments should work – working with local communities to design real neighbourhoods that work for the existing community.”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

BRITAIN’S LARGEST EVER COMMUNITY RIGHT TO BUILD ORDER – DELIVERED BY THE MOUNT PLEASANT NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM – GOES LIVE!!!

After four years of intensive community engagement, the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum’s Community Right to Build Order – Britain’s largest ever – is open to public consultation until 27 January 2017. To see the planning documents on Camden’s website, click HERE.

The Mount Pleasant Association (MPA) is a company and a Neighbourhood Forum established by the local community group living and working around the proposed development at the Royal Mail Group’s (RMG) Mount Pleasant sorting office in Clerkenwell, London.

The MPA’s objective is to ensure that development in this inner-city neighbourhood serves the needs of all stakeholders and seeks to improve, not worsen, conditions in this special piece of London. We are in the process of formulating a Neighbourhood Plan and have been awarded funding from the GLA through the Community Right to Build Programme to develop an earlier concept design for the Mount Pleasant site, which the Mayor described as ‘very beautiful,’ to a planning application.

The MPA is committed to the sustainable development of our neighbourhood and is in this for the long-haul. We advocate open discussion and constructive dialogue, and welcome collaborative partnerships with those that share our concerns for our city and the manner in which it is presently being developed.

— Oct 3, 2014 —

Boris Johnson approved the Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant proposal at a heated hearing at the GLA on 3rd October.The scheme, which is abhorred by members of the local community, was opposed by the Mount Pleasant Association who presented a deputation on behalf of the many community groups and resident associations surrounding the site.

We believe the result, though anticipated, is bad for London and a Pyrrhic victory for the Royal Mail and their ‘award-winning architects.’ In a surprise move, the Mayor applauded the MPA’s alternative scheme produced in collaboration with Create Streets – describing it as ‘very beautiful’ – and urged us to press ahead with developing a planning application.

With the funding we have received from the GLA’s Community Right to Build programme, we will now prepare a planning application that betters the Royal Mail’s and delivers what the community wants and what London deserves – good quality community-led development that serves the interests of all.

Above all, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all of you that came to the GLA to support our deputation. The 200-strong ‘audience’ in the public gallery sent a clear message to the Mayor that this was an unattractive proposal put forward by an aggressive and belligerent neighbour, and we remain determined to prevent our neighbourhood from being blighted by their plans.

—- June 2014 —-

EXCLUSIVE: Watch our film, which posed the simple question to the former Mayor: Mr Johnson – will you seize or squander one of the best opportunities in centuries for regeneration in the heart of our capital:

The alternative proposal – Mount Pleasant Circus and Fleet Valley Gardens – has been prepared over many months by Create Streets with the participation of local residents and stakeholders. A collaborative team of highly respected professionals, including Paul Murrain (Urban Designer), Mike Franks (Architect Planner), Francis Terry (Architect), David Taylor (Engineer), Tim Stonor (Space Syntax) and Alexandra Steed (Landscape Architect), have proven that better design and planning on this site can deliver a scheme that offers MORE HOMES for Londoners, MORE and BETTER OPEN SPACES for local residents, HIGHER ECONOMIC VALUE for the RMG and UK taxpayer, BETTER CONNECTIVITY,  and has the LOCAL COMMUNITY’S SUPPORT. Mr Mayor, here is a golden opportunity for you to Seize or Squander

For past media coverage of Mount Pleasant please visit our News Page.

Here is a short film conveying our message to local Councillors…

And here’s a short two minute message to the former mayor, Boris Johnson, who decided the fate of the Royal Mail’s scheme …

25 thoughts on “

    • Thanks Richard – good to hear from you and delighted Laystall Court is so active – you are very much ‘on the front line’!
      If you haven’t already, sign up to the email list (on the Contacts page) and you’ll get updates on how you can help. For now, just make sure you send a response to your council planning office and send the link to the website and film to everyone you know!
      Best wishes and Happy New Year!

  1. EXCELLENT video (and site) – have tweeted. Congratulations and thanks to all who made it and set up this forum page. Sorry to have missed Monday’s Pakenham Arms get-together – went to the Calthorpe Arms by mistake – and to have come late to active support – live at Holloway-end of south Islington. I’ll now write to councillors, planning officers etc expressing my concerns.

    Best to all for a successful 2014 campaign.

    • Thank you for your support – it’s much appreciated and shows that concern for this development extends far beyond those living on the immediate boundary of the site. It of course affects us all and generations to come. Happy New Year!

      • Below is a copy of the email I sent to councillors/officers… today, 1 January 2014:

        Dear councillors/planning officers/Islington MPs/Assembly members

        If you’ve not yet had time to watch this short – 20min – film prepared by members of the Mount Pleasant Forum, I urge you do so – easy link to same here https://vimeo.com/80406211; also here on YouTube

        Both Camden and Islington councils will be considering this deeply flawed proposed development, most likely in February. This excellent film shows not only why the scheme should be rejected, but provides an alternative proposal. The green, pedestrianised space in Phoenix Place clinches this as a resident-inspired alternative.

        Amidst the public outcry about the privatisation of Royal Mail, little attention has been given to the loss of previously publicly-owned land for private, property-price inflating, residential development (land-value tax urgently needed, elected members please note!). But while the sale has already gone through, the development proposal will be for planning officers to evaluate and elected members to decide upon. I trust it will be comprehensively rejected. The film speaks for itself and the Mount Pleasant Forum webpage gives other reasons why this plan should be thrown out:

        https://mountpleasantforum.wordpress.com

        Footnote: while RMG (Royal Mail Group) is currently trying to buy local backing for its scheme by bribing local residents – one’s been offered over £12k! – to give up their ‘right to light’, it seems the Law Commission held a ‘consultation’ – with whom, one wonders? LA planning officers? – between from 18 February to 16 May 2013 on whether ‘the law by which rights to light are acquired and enforced provides an appropriate balance between the important interests of landowners and the need to facilitate the appropriate development of land’, ie more power to developers, worrying indeed, particularly in densely populated inner London

        http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/areas/rights-to-light.htm

        Best,

        Meg Howarth

        19a Ellington St
        N7 8PN
        Twitter @howarthm

  2. I wish you all the best in achieving an acceptable scheme for the ex Royal mail site at Mount Pleasant. London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies has been supporting its member community groups for 25 years. Let us know if there is any advice we can give. However, the London Plan is being interpreted by the GLA at present to allow several developments that are not context sensitive.

  3. Well done on an excellent website and well-thought through series of points on the proposed development. The site offers a great opportunity to build a series of high density streets that ‘plug into’ & work with the surrounding neighbourhoods, complementing them and enhancing them. And doing so would offer great long term economic returns for a freeholder such as Royal Mail. It is a shame for the area (and actually economically foolish of Royal Mail) to build such a monolithic site that turns its back on the area. On a 20 year time frame they would almost certainly gain more building some great streets. As would the community. What a needlessly missed opportunity. But it is not too late. And we hope that councillors support you and demand something better.

    • Thank you for your positive comments. Your professional opinions are extremely valuable and much appreciated, not least in highlighting the important research that demonstrates the economic returns for freeholders are greater over the long-term with more public space (streets or otherwise). Getting the RMG to realise that the ‘get rich quick’ mentality they are pursuing by packing mid- to high-rise high-density blocks on the site is undermining their financial position over the long term will be a challenge. But, it highlights an important point that is relevant to most issues at Mount Pleasant: there is very little difference in the aims and objectives of all stakeholders and the current row is unnecessary if only the RMG had meaningfully involved the local community from the outset. All that is required is a bit of good old fashioned communication. As you so rightly say – it is not too late.

  4. Excellent Video. I am involved with a number of community groups, local residents and some other academics here at Goldsmiths in working to establish a community forum/ coalition to challenge various aspects of the Convoys Wharf development in Deptford where Boris has similarly taken over the planing process. We are also looking to fight to maximise community assets coming out of the development incl. S.106 monies and to secure and enhance the historical legacy of the site. We are aiming to call a community meeting in February to plan our campaign and to seek funding to support the action.
    I will keep you posted on developments.
    Dr Roger Green, Goldsmiths, University of London

  5. In the 18th century philanthropists disgusted by the ever rising property accumulation and taking away of spaces made sure that urban space became reserved for parks or special purposes like children (e.g. Thomas Coram). Sad to know that parks and recreation are no longer a thought. The Mount Pleasant site can still become a brilliant local park, perhaps with some limited housing. Sadly it will never happen.

  6. Dear members of the forum,

    I have been a resident in Granville Square for the last 7 years, we love it here!!! such a wonderful area!

    I’m very worried about this development so I just wanted to wish you all the very best luck next week when this proposal is going to be finally discussed (10th of March) according to the letter that I have received from Islington Council. I assume the forum will be presenting this excellent alternative proposal.

    The video was fantastic and hopefully it helps the Royal Mail and the Councillors involved in the decision to reconsider the plans for the site so it integrates better with the existing communities and it gets reduced substantially in size.

    It would be totally irresponsible to allow 700 new units when there is already so much pressure for doctors, schools etc… in the area.

    The Lloyd Baker Estate with its expensive flats and houses, as you may know, is owned by the Islington Council, so there is already a lot of social housing in this area where I leave, ( I am not sure about the other areas impacted though) but again, hopefully as part of the discussions next week, they agree to increase the level of more affordable flats for people that work in the area or others that are in need of one.

    Kind regards

    M

  7. I am a resident of Wilmington Square and a member of the Wilmington Square Society. Wilmington Square is a beautiful square, unfortunately so neglected that its railings are now on the National Heritage list of assets at risk. The garden at the centre of the square will provide an additional green space in the immediate vicinity of the Mount Pleasant site. I note that your plan includes a street going to the north-east in the direction of Wilmington Square. It should constitute a green link between Mount Pleasant Circus and Wilmington Square in order to facilitate the integration of the communities of new and existing residents. Also funds should be earmarked for the restoration of the railings. I fully support your proposal.

    • Thank you for your email Emmanuel. The MPA has enjoyed having many residents of Wilmington Square attend our meetings and contribute by email over the past two years. We are acutely aware of the problem with the railings and something does indeed need to be done. The model scheme does maintain a link to Wilmington Square to honour the possibility of a secondary corridor connecting it to the site. What is highly contestable is the present scheme’s reliance on this being a primary corridor to ‘The Garden’ when no viable or safe crossing can be had across Farringdon Road at this point. This is a fundamental flaw in the current scheme and it will lead to serious accident or death on our roads if it is allowed to go ahead. We are very grateful for your comments, observations and support. Please do circulate to your friends and neighbours – above all we welcome a constructive debate!

  8. Mount Pleasant Circus is an inspiring alternative which could mark a historic shift in London’s development as important as the battle to save Covent Garden in the 1970s.

    We must put a stop to the march of rapacious developments that disfigure our city and completely ignore the housing needs of ordinary Londoners.

    Your proposal shows that there is another way and has my full support.

    Cedric D’Amico
    Margery Street Estate, WC1

  9. A well thought out and beautifully presented case against this appalling land grab. Well done to all concerned. Please post some information on the relevant people one can lobby and to whom we can most effectively express our disgust with the Royal Mail, and support for your alternative proposals.

  10. Best wishes with your challenge to the Mayor making the decision on this site.
    He should not have expressed his views if he intended to take control of the application.
    London Forum hopes that the Prince Charles’ intervention will be helpful.

  11. Stop the privatization of mount pleasant and it’s local area, the idea for mount pleasant circus is a great idea but I think there should be at least 50% council owned/social housing, as there is already a lot of private developments in the area.

  12. Thanks for your suggestion of closing Mount Pleasant to all but emergency traffic. Would you organise compensation for forcing our business, Mount Pleasant Studio, a busy film and TV studio that’s been on the site for 30 years, to close? You may have consulted the residents, but you haven’t consulted the businesses. Or perhaps they don’t count?

    • Thank you for your comment, which presents a good opportunity to make the MPA’s position clear regarding the local community’s aspirations for the area. We run an open access website and welcome comments and discussion on all matters. The MPA therefore not only welcomes your comments but also welcomes your participation. Please sign up to our email updates on our Contact page so that you can come and contribute to meetings and keep abreast of information. This way we can avoid obvious misunderstandings that might result in the conclusion the MPA’s is somehow against business. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      Our preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan (Localism Act, 2011) will require full public consultation before any proposals have the force of law. This is not and will not be the charade that the Royal Mail Group (RMG) has put us all through over the last two years. Neither are we in the business of simply producing a housing plan; we are equally committed to supporting and fostering a healthy local economy together with improved community facilities, a sensible traffic plan, education and cultural facilities and outdoor space to relax and meet together.

      Regarding the closure (all or part) of certain streets, there are serious traffic problems in our neighbourhood, exacerbated by the presence of the Royal Mail sorting office. If the RMG get their way, conditions not only in the local area but also for London more widely will get very much worse. While the whole world is being asked to cut emissions and improve the quality of life in our cities, the RMG are demanding to have 3,000 vehicle movements a day into and out of this central London facility, increasing noise, congestion and pollution. Anyone attempting to cross our local streets, whether Mount Pleasant or elsewhere, to reach local shops, doctors, or schools will know how treacherous conditions are. The suggestion to close or significantly calm these rat runs are a direct response to the overwhelming calls to calm our neighbourhood’s secondary and tertiary streets and encourage pedestrian and cycle use while keeping essential vehicles to primary roads.

      Our ambition is to improve the neighbourhood for the many, not the few. This is not, of course, about denying businesses access to essential supplies, but about transforming dangerous rat-runs that criss-cross and blight our neighbourhood into pleasant and high-functioning spaces for the greater good.

      Please join us in attaining these ambitions. We look forward to your active participation in the Neighbourhood Plan and to discussing how we can improve our area so that your business and the wider local community can thrive.

  13. And what of the businesses who rely on having a transport link to their doors and who’ve been there many years way before all this regeneration when no one else wanted to be located here.
    A park is a great idea but to disregard those in the area that need the road link is rather selfish.

    • Dear Mark,

      Thank you for your message. Given that it arrived within minutes of an almost identical comment, we have taken the liberty of answering with the same response and welcome you to join the local community in transforming our area for the better.

      Please sign up to our email updates on our Contact page so that you can come and contribute to meetings and keep abreast of information. This way we can avoid obvious misunderstandings that might result in the conclusion the MPA’s is somehow against business. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      Our preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan (Localism Act, 2011) will require full public consultation before any proposals have the force of law. This is not and will not be the charade that the Royal Mail Group (RMG) has put us all through over the last two years. Neither are we in the business of simply producing a housing plan; we are equally committed to supporting and fostering a healthy local economy together with improved community facilities, a sensible traffic plan, education and cultural facilities and outdoor space to relax and meet together.

      Regarding the closure (all or part) of certain streets, there are serious traffic problems in our neighbourhood, exacerbated by the presence of the Royal Mail sorting office. If the RMG get their way, conditions not only in the local area but also for London more widely will get very much worse. While the whole world is being asked to cut emissions and improve the quality of life in our cities, the RMG are demanding to have 3,000 vehicle movements a day into and out of this central London facility, increasing noise, congestion and pollution. Anyone attempting to cross our local streets, whether Mount Pleasant or elsewhere, to reach local shops, doctors, or schools will know how treacherous conditions are. The suggestion to close or significantly calm these rat runs are a direct response to the overwhelming calls to calm our neighbourhood’s secondary and tertiary streets and encourage pedestrian and cycle use while keeping essential vehicles to primary roads.

      Our ambition is to improve the neighbourhood for the many, not the few. This is not, of course, about denying businesses access to essential supplies, but about transforming dangerous rat-runs that criss-cross and blight our neighbourhood into pleasant and high-functioning spaces for the greater good.

      Please join us in attaining these ambitions. We look forward to your active participation in the Neighbourhood Plan and to discussing how we can improve our area so that your business and the wider local community can thrive.

  14. I was pleasantly surprised to find information about the MPA posted up around the area in my morning walk on Christmas Day!
    I’ve been a resident in Clerkenwell Close for 20 years and have seen the area undergo massive changes – most of it, unfortunately, not for the better…
    It used to be a lovely ‘forgotten’ ‘backwater’ ‘pocket’ of peace and quiet and full of character! With a lot of the old Italian population still around, the old clock-makers and artisans, and the empty warehouses of Old St!
    Then it became a Yuppie playground – ostesibly for ‘up-and-coming’ ‘designer-types’ relocating into creative ‘lofts’ – in actual fact, all artists were very quickly priced out of the area by the GREEDY DEVELOPERS!…
    I have seen local residents movements and associations come and go… We fought the (then Lib Dem) Council in their ruthless sale of the Finsbury Town Hall – and lost… We have seen lots of schools close down and their land being sold to PRIVATE Developments of LUXURY FLATS – making the area incredibly OVER-Built… While at the same time we lose our open spaces…
    We also fought the Council (some of the Councillors are still the same – and it surprises me that they have not been OUSTED, with a history of supporting rapacious developments – no doubt with ‘lobbying’ money going into their hands…) when they wanted to sell off Clerkenwell Green underground toilets to a Cafe!… This time we managed to stop the Council – who, one would’ve thought, would be there to PROTECT the INTERESTS of the local population, rather than a force to be FOUGHT all the time!… But we did not get them to agree to ‘RE-GREEN the GREEN’… We also lost a good ally when Chris Smith retired from politics (can’t blame him!…)
    This process of ‘GENTRIFICATION’ – which is often wrongly called ‘RE-GENERATION’ has spoilt much of the area for good… And I must say, I no longer have plans to stay when retirement age comes…
    The re-development of Farringdon Station was a brilliant opportunity for the RE-GREENING of the area and there were project for the first ‘eco-tube-station’ to be developed there and to change the environment atmosphere around those busy roads that cross it from North to South and from West to East…! But in the end, it turned out to be just as pedestrian as any other!… (And with less trees!…) Plainly only catering for the increasing hoards of commuters feeding local offices and helping make it LESS of a community than ever!…
    Time and time again, over 2 decades, I have witnessed politicians and powers-that-be OVERRIDE and DISRESPECT local populations with IMPUNITY!… It’s a terrible PREDICAMENT (which seems national as well, especially under the CON-DEMs…)
    What I do support is an approach to local communities which would be SENSIBLE instead of RAMPANT…
    One of the key words in Ecological Movements these days is DE-CROISSANCE – or the reverse of ‘Development’! – Instead of increasing movement and business, it’s about DE-CREASING it! It’s about bringing Nature – and peace and quiet – and health – back!
    Personally I would prefer if the Mount Pleasant site were transformed into a large (PERMACULTURE – London is so lacking in ECOLOGICAL endeavours, compared to other major cities in the world!…) park – full stop! No shops, no cafes, no chain-coffeeshops (which do not pay tax!…), no super-markets, no ‘business’ (Brunswick Centre is a sad example of all that…) – just nature! If the building were up for grabs, it could be made into a cultural centre – which are terribly short of – in such a historical part of London!..
    I would support all initiative to PEDESTRIANISE and RE-GREEN as much of the surrounding neighbourhood as possible! NOT ‘to attract’ more people into the area, but to preserve it’s character and peace! NOT to make it ‘more desirable’ (and therefore more EXPENSIVE than it already is!… And a prime target for ruthless DEVELOPERS – who seem to behave like LOCUST and VULTURES wherever they go!…) but to keep it safe from such external PREDATORY influences, and therefore a neighbourhood which will remain alive and retain it’s identity as a community).
    Thanks for taking the initiative! I’ll be glad to keep an eye out for what is happening.

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