Many may not have realised this until the last elections, and some may not even know yet, but the ward of Kings Cross, which includes WC1X, now includes some of the Northern Kings Cross Development areas. It includes the areas that house Camden Council, the London and UK offices of Google, Meta (formerly Facebook) and Samsung and yes, the University of Arts, Granary Square, even St Pancras Station and Eurostar and affiliated businesses are part of it and a lot more.
In the past, these areas were sadly very separate, even though those living long enough in the area may remember that the Kings Cross Development Forum of the 1990s and early 2000s was thinking and consulting about the broader development in the North from a location in the South East.
With huge investments having gone into the North of Kings Cross, the question is how the inclusion of the Northern stretches can make a difference. Technically it means no more than being an administrative boundary, namely that Kings Cross as a ward is assessed and represented by Camden through the lens of these boundaries. In effect, our worth as a ward has been upgraded through that. Still, there should be no doubt that WC1X in general (and also by extension the social housing estates between Gray’s Inn Road and Judd Street) contain pockets of deprivation, with the South East, between Gray’s Inn Road and Kings Cross Road possibly even worst off, as it so far lacked a common identity and voice.
But certainly, it could mean that when big global companies like Google, Meta Samsung, as well as others that are yet to settle at Kings Cross look for opportunities to invest back into local communities, the area South-East of them, part of the local-government council ward within which they are now placed, should undoubtedly be one of the areas they should seek to support.
That is a significant issue, mainly because the re-development of the former Kings Cross British Rail Land was primarily an affair that affected the area North of Euston Road.
What kind of support could be forthcoming in the future? There could be special funds to improve the area, make it more pleasant, and bring about unique schemas and programmes or discounts for people living within the ward, especially for those who are of the younger or of the older generations or those who are disadvantaged for one reason or another.
Innovation and consideration should finally move into the residential and business communities across that artificial and noisy dividing line called Euston Road and Pentonville Road and continue the transformation into a great area to live in for all and on all accounts.
So perhaps, we can conclude that it has the potential of a welcome and some hope-giving change. And with one of the newly elected councillors working himself for one of the big companies, getting that message across should be even easier.
There is only one risk with the changes, namely that it could hide the deprivation in the ward when tallied up with the North of Euston Road, but adequate use of census data should avoid that.
Here are some stats from before the boundary change (2020):-
- The median household income in (South East of) King’s Cross is almost £6000 lower than the Camden average and stood in 2020 at £29,854.
- 34.7% of children in (South East of) King’s Cross ward live in poverty, ranking 3rd highest ward for poverty by ward in Camden. It is above the national threshold of around 30%. The definition of a household in poverty in Camden was defined as earning less than £21,632 in 2020. Multiple Deprivation Levels are high. (see * below)
- 55.1% of the population lived in socially rented accommodation, 26.6% private rented, and 14.5% owned their home (2015 data)
- 31 % of residents in (SE of) Kings Cross lived in overcrowded accommodation (2015). 61.6 per cent of children were in the social care system (in 2015)
- 23.5% of residents were students in 2015. 33.3 per cent were educated to degree level or had NVQ4 level education, but 16.7% had no qualification, 19.8 per cent had NVQ3 or A-Levels (2015 data)
- Employment (2011 data): Of those in work the stats are as follows: Professional & Business Services 35% Public Services has 30%, Distribution & Hospitality 15%.
- Backgrounds: 45.7% of residents in Kings Cross were born outside the UK. 33% of the population were “White” and English, Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish and 14.2% “White Other”, 12.9 % Bangladeshi, 8.6% Black British African (2013 data), but 60% hold UK passports.
- The mean age is 33,7, almost five years younger than the main age of Camden. 11.1 per cent were children under 16 and 9.4% were over 65 years of age.
- 22% of areas in SE of Kings Cross were green spaces (2015 data)
- Offences against persons were 45% of all crimes recorded (1,118 cases) and Drug Offences 15% of all crimes recorded (376 cases).
- Religion: 31.6 Christian, 23.0 no religion, 21.2 Muslim (2013 data)
- Deprivation Information (2015)
“The Indices of Deprivation 20198 allows for the identification of the areas in England with the highest proportion of people and households experiencing deprivation. The data is calculated at LSOA9 level and takes into consideration relative deprivation across seven factors: income, employment, health and disability, education, skills and training, housing and services, and crime and living environment. The indices are provided as both a score and as a rank position within England. The combined overall index is the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) and, with the LSOA geography, is designed to show hotspots of deprivation that are often masked with ward level measures. However, a ward position can be calculated by averaging the IMD scores. On this basis King’s Cross is ranked the 5th most deprived ward.
Results for Camden show that there are concentrations of LSOAs within Camden that on the rankings of IMD fall within the highest levels in England. King’s Cross ward contains 3 LSOAs that fall within the 20% most deprived LSOAs in England, but none that fall within the 20-30% most deprived LSOAs in England. King’s Cross’ most deprived LSOA (E01000939) is the 4th most deprived LSOA in Camden and falls within the 13.9% most deprived LSOAs in England. Best viewed on a map, Fig.4 shows the LSOAs in Camden ranked among the 10%, 20% and 30% most deprived in England. Two sub-domains are often picked out to indicate deprivation affecting children (IDACI) and older people (IDAOPI). Table 1 below shows the results for King’s Cross ward for the overall Index of Multiple Deprivation and for the Income sub-domains affecting children and older people. 3 of the 8 King’s Cross LSOAs fall within the 20% most deprived in England on IDACI (affecting children). However, 3 out of the 8 LSOAs fall within the 4% most deprived in England on IDAOPI (affecting older people).” (from NOS ward profile 2020)