A row of blocked-off railway arches near the Arsenal football club could be opened up and rented out as part of a property development nearby if planning permission is granted.

Current state of the arches (c) Planning application / CZWG

The main development, by CZWG, would be a student accommodation building for 284 people sitting next to the London Metropolitan University, while the railway arches would be rented out.

Proposed development (c) Planning application / CZWG

The railway arches to be opened up for tenants won’t run the full width under the railway and will be limited to just the part of the arches that sit underneath a disused section of railway that was once sidings and a slope down to the railway goods yards that sat where the Arsenal stadium is today. That limitation on the depth of the railway arches being refurbished avoids the regulatory headaches that come from working under a live railway.

The expectation from the developer is that the currently sealed-off and derelict row of the arches would be opened up as a new pedestrian path between the railway and the university building, and be filled with cafes and light industrial users.

In total there are 21 arches are in the area to be refurbished, each 10 metres deep, although one (may) be reserved for public toilets for customers visiting the cafes along the railway (subject to council agreement), and three for services for student accommodation.

At the far end of the railway arches, at the end that’s directly opposite Holloway Road tube station, a currently derelict building at the end of the arches would also be refurbished to create a gateway into the walkway running along the railway arches.

The walkway would also provide an additional route between Holloway Road tube station and the Emirates Stadium, which has been an aim of the local council for some years.

At the eastern end of the railway arches, on a currently empty corner plot of land is where the student accommodation block is planned. The ground floor design will mirror the style of the arches with tall rounded windows and the currently very fashionable use of semi-arched overhangs.

Proposed development (c) Planning application / CZWG

As is pretty standard these days, the development will come without spaces for cars – save one disabled spot – but will have space for 220 bicycles.

There will also be a roof garden for the students.

However, arguably, for most people, the opening up of the railway arches for cafes and small businesses, creating between 50-90 jobs will have the biggest effect locally.

The Islington Council planning reference is: P2022/1943/FUL.

Site in red (c) Planning application / CZWG

Updated 19th July 4pm: Corrected some issues about cycle parking and toilets provisions.


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  1. E says:

    That plot at the end towards the stadium is actually not empty, and is a car park / car wash. Still active.

  2. John Usher says:

    Not dissimilar to the earlier arches developments on the other side of Holloway Road along the tube station

    Isn’t the ‘…currently derelict building at the end of the arches..’ an old railway building of some sort?

    As to toilets – behind the modern abutment brickwork under the railway bridge were (are?) some pretty disgusting public toilets – If not gone, perhaps they could be renovated?

    The land above the arches? and the similar plot to the north of the line?

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