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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know who you are and that you've paid a subscription/donation.
Thank you - to Pastor Jared of the Bethesda Chapel for so kindly letting us meet there, to our MP Emma Dent Coad and Cllr Freeman for coming to support us, and to the members and supporters who came on Tuesday. The HVRA Committee is very grateful for your support.
Heartfelt thanks to everyone that attended the Planning Committee meeting on 31st January. Support was incredible and it made clear what the majority of residents felt about the proposed development at Newcombe House.
10 councillors rejected the application while 2 approved so the planning application was rejected. This was a great victory for the residents as many of the issues we've had all along e.g. the height of the tower and lack of social housing were cited during the hearing.
We await next steps from the developer and we will see if they decide to take this any further. Ultimately we're all agreed that the site needs work; we just want something appropriate for the area and which works for our community. We will keep you posted!
Thank you so much for your support,
The HVRA Committee
Please object to the revised proposals for Newcombe House!
“…Notting Hill’s main road fronts a neighbourhood of cottagey streets and squares of great charm. A developer now wants to replace the southern block [Newcombe House] with an 18-storey luxury tower of egregious ugliness. It would loom over the entire area — a poke in the eye of residents from Bayswater to Holland Park and Ladbroke Grove. Its intrusion brazenly offends the very idea of a conservation area.”
Simon Jenkins, Evening Standard, 17th October 2017
Fight for a BETTER scheme for the regeneration of Notting Hill Gate – OBJECT to the proposed Newcombe Tower!
The developers’ first planning application for the Newcombe House site was refused by Kensington and Chelsea Council last year and their Appeal dismissed this summer. They have now submitted a new application with the same Tower with no changes in bulk, design or height. The Council is expected to make a decision within the next two months.
Hundreds have already objected. You too can make your voice heard and still OBJECT to this new planning application on the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) website: www.rbkc.gov.uk/PP/17/05782 or by emailing your objection to email@example.com
Please make sure to label your comment as OBJECTION and quote the case number: PP/17/05782.
1. The proposed 72m 18-storey Tower on Notting Hill Gate will be 50% taller than the existing Newcombe House of 47m. It will dwarf the whole neighbourhood, especially Hillgate Village’s small-scale houses (3 storeys, 9m), affecting views in west London and the skyline for many decades, for residents, visitors and future generations.
2. The developers’ plan is for 37 “high quality residential accommodation” units with an average “achievable” price of almost £4.5 million, including at the top of the Tower two duplex flats with 360-degree views, one with a “winter garden and terrace”, and prices of £14-15 million each (the “cheapest” flat is just under £1M). They are likely to appeal to non-resident buyers as “buy-to-leave” investments and remain empty, winning few new customers for our local shops, pubs and restaurants, and adding little our local community and its social fabric.
3. The proposed on-site affordable housing (9 flats) falls far below the Mayor of London’s threshold of 35%, which he wants to raise to 50% in the long-term.
4. The building works, demolishing all buildings on Kensington Church Street from Waterstones to Kensington Place, excavating a two-storey basement on the Farmers’ Market location, building the Tower and five large additional buildings, will last at least three and half years according to the developers’ own calculations.
5. The Farmers’ Market will have to move for the duration of the building works and we understand that it may be relocating at the far end of Portobello Road. Will there be any Farmers’ Market to return?
6. The works will affect significantly local traffic, parking, noise and air pollution. The developers’ own estimates indicate 20 lorries per day on average, or 3 lorries per hour, over the development period. You can guess how this would affect the neighbourhood with its small, narrow streets, nursery and primary schools.
7. In the current economic climate, some large building projects appear to be experiencing problems and many local shops are vacant. What guarantee is there that this major application will actually deliver promised benefits?
8. The proposed public benefits do not outweigh the harm likely to be caused to the surrounding heritage assets and the community by a much taller Tower which the Council found to be of “insufficient high design quality”.
9. Letting one developer build an excessively tall Tower could create a precedent, opening the floodgates for other Towers on Notting Hill Gate and elsewhere in west London.
10. Kensington & Chelsea’s own Architectural Review Panel judged the Tower’s architecture “neither elegant nor accomplished” enough for such a tall building in such a prominent position. The option of renovating and refurbishing the site should be considered. Other of Notting Hill Gate’s 1960s buildings are being refurbished with a modest increase in height, so clearly it is possible to make an economic case to do this.
Notting Hill deserves better! We do not have to put up with major works and accept a plan just because it is the only one on the table. The current Newcombe House may be tall and unloved but replacing it with something much taller and undistinguished is not the answer. The real test of any regeneration scheme is that it’s better than what it proposes to replace.
ACT NOW to preserve Notting Hill's unique character and stop this inappropriate development: it is too high, its design is out of keeping with the area and the proposals do not provide the kind of housing London needs.
OBJECT NOW on RBKC planning website (www.rbkc.gov.uk/PP/17/05782) – every comment counts!
ENCOURAGE NOW your friends and neighbours, local associations, parents at school gates, press, bloggers, etc, anyone who cares about Notting Hill and our community, to send in their objections to RBKC.
JOIN The Hillgate Village Residents’ Association/HVRA (annual membership £15 per person). DONATE to our fighting fund. SUPPORT our work on this vital matter of concern to our community. Email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issued by The Hillgate Village Residents’ Association/HVRA 5/12/17 – www.hillgatevillage.com