New community centre at heart of £14m investment in St Pancras

St Pancras residents and Camden councillors gathered together on Tuesday (27 July) to officially open a new multi-use community centre.

It will be the cornerstone of a £14m investment in the area which will include new affordable homes on Camden Street and new shops financed by homes built for private sale.

The Plender Street project is just one of many projects to follow this model under Camden’s Community Investment Programme (CIP), a 15 year plan to invest money in schools, homes and community facilities.

Camden’s Council’s capital programme has a budget of £1.4 billion up to 2025, yet only 2% of this will come from government grants – meaning the Council has to be creative to generate funding for its community investment.

Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council
“This wonderful new centre is already being enjoyed and used by both children and adults, bringing together our diverse communities in St Pancras.

“We’ve had to take an innovative approach to continue to invest in our communities and fill the funding gap left by the Government, and it’s the sale of our newly built private homes and renovation of under-used spaces which has given us the capital to provide facilities fit for the future and genuinely affordable housing.

“We see this as a clear model for success as London groans under the weight of a housing crisis and a continuing need for capital investment.” 
Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council

The centre on Plender Street, includes spaces for meetings, sports events, catering and childcare. In the six weeks it has been open so far, the centre has hosted a regular nursery, belly dancing sessions, bridge club and a drama workshop, as well as netball and football on the adjacent all-weather pitch.The affordable housing will be built on the site of the former St Pancras Community Association and garages on Camden Street.

The CIP targets building 3,050 new homes in Camden and improving or adding 9000m² of improved community facilities and space.

In August, the top beam is set to be laid at the Council’s Agar Grove development, which will provide 493 new or replacement homes, consisting of council homes for rent, intermediate rent and private homes.

The Plender Street project includes:

  • A new community centre.
  • 14 new genuinely affordable homes will be provided at Camden Street, the site of the former community centre.
  • 31 private flats in total - 16 on Plender Street above the community centre and 15 above new shops on Camden Street.
  • New shop premises.

The Community Investment Programme (CIP) is a 15 year plan to invest money in schools, homes and community facilities. We have a £403 million capital funding gap – this is the amount of money we need to maintain and refurbish buildings and land such as schools, council estates, community centres, parks and roads.Our capital programme to 2025 is £1.4 billion, and only 2% of this will come from government grants so we need to come up with innovative ways of generating the funding.