The Hillgate Village Residents' Association grew out of the concern for the preservation of the colourful Victorian terraced cottages.
The area is in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and in planning terms is a conservation area. Its unique character is loved both by the residents and also by the many many tourists who visit and admire it every day.
Tuesday evening on 15th May and the Bethesda Chapel on Kensington Place was almost full with over 70 members, supporters and friends who came to hear the latest on the planning application for the Newcombe House Tower.
As most of you will know by now, the application has been rejected twice by the Council, and the last appeal to the Council was rejected by a majority of 10:2. However, the application has been 'called in' by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who will make a final decision on it in September at a public hearing in City Hall.
We were delighted that our Kensington and Chelsea MP, Emma Dent Coad and one of our local Councillors, Robert Freeman, were able to come to the meeting to voice their opposition to the plans and confirm their support for those fighting them. Several other councillors asked Robert to represent them as there was a three line whip for their attendance elsewhere.
The discussion centred largely around the reasons given for the Mayor's 'calling in', and issues raised by the development:
Affordable housing: Emma pointed out that 'affordable' means 60-80% of market rent. The amount of affordable housing provided by the development is still extremely low, and well below the Mayor's own targets.
GP surgery: This will simply relocate and combine two existing practices without adding capacity. the relocation may cause issues for those north of the existing location.
Step-free tube access: The developer's proposal would enable step-free to the Eastbound Circle & District line platform. Speakers at the meeting pointed out that this would enable travel in a single direction so would not be particularly useful.
Danger of another Earl's Court: This much-heralded redevelopment destroyed the existing Exhibition Hall and hit financial issues. It is now a wasteland and has left local businesses struggling. We do not want this to happen here.
Concern over setting a precedent for high-rise towers in residential areas around London: This is not just a Hillgate Village issue - sightlines will be blighted across West London by this tower and it could be the first of many.
The meeting unanimously approved HVRA's opposition to the development and many present were extremely generous in donating towards the ongoing legal and other costs we face. A financial summary of the expenses to date was given out at the meeting, showing a current balance of £300 - so more donations to our fighting fund are required! A copy of the summary can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
JOIN The Hillgate Village Residents’ Association/HVRA (annual membership £15 per person). Please confirm your Email address to receive our Newsletter and updates
WRITE to the Mayor at the Greater London Assembly at:
A Google search for 'GLA Newcombe House" will take you to their pages outlining the development and their reasons for calling it in. The RBKC planning application reference is PP/17/05782 if you'd like more detail from the Council website.
ATTEND and ENCOURAGE your friends and neighbours to attend the September public hearing at City Hall (date TBC).
FINALLY, PLEASE DONATE to our fighting fund! Account name: Hillgate Village Residents’ Association Sort code: 30 96 19 Account number: 26278968. Please send an email to us at email@example.com to let us know who you are and that you've paid a subscription/donation.