Future of Old Street Roundabout and the bookshop

November 11th, 2013 by Editor Leave a reply »

I met Robin Charlesworth of TfL last Friday to hear his plans.
Short-term he is going to hand over up to 5 shop units to a letting company to administer as pop-up shops. He is bringing in the Parks Police from December to patrol. He will make changes towards unifying the image of the advertising hoardings, signage, A-boards and shop fronts. Lighting and flooring may also be uplifted. There are also unspecified plans to provide something to do with contemprorary fine arts on the surface of the roundabout ( I reminded him of the proposal to use the plinth for installations). All these changes are dependant on funding streams and parts of it are somewhat experimental and subject to change as the plans evolve.
The medium-term plans are in respect of the de-insularisation of the roundabout and largely concern the changes to the roads at the surface. These are currently being negotiated by TfL, Hackney and Islington boroughs and the Highways Agency. Robin does not have anything to do with this phase apart from if any of the underground parts require structural strengthening to support the new roads above. Any disruption to the underground or to the shops will be kept to a minimum and should not involve any longer-term impact.
The long-term plans reflect the fact that Old Street is third highest priority for TfL to redevelop in order to manage the ratio of space available to a significant increase in passenger use at the station. This will involve the station and the shops closing and being completely rebuilt from the tracks upwards at a cost of hundreds of millions of pounds. As such this is not likey to happen for many years to come and it is likely to be a major project that is discussed at all levels over the forthcoming years, with a possible starting date as late as 2021 or later.
The bookshop will be remaining in situ to provide for all its valued customers as long as possible. We are in the course of negotiating another six year lease presently.
Please correct me if I have misunderstood or misrepresented any of TfL’s plans.


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