Links to some publicly available material for more information on the prior and current applications:
- 2016 Mayor (Johnson) Stage 2 Report. This relates to the first development application by Notting Hill Gate KCS Ltd in 2016. RBKC refused planning consent and this letter confirms Mayor Johnson was content for that refusal to stand.
- 2017 Appeal, Inspector's Report. Notting Hill Gate KCS Ltd appealed RBKC’s decision, this report is the Inspector’s decision to refuse the appeal. (The link takes a little while to load).
- RBKC Planning 2018 reasons for refusal. Notting Hill Gate KCS Ltd resubmitted an application in September 2017 modified in two respects only from the 2016 application – provision of affordable housing and inclusion of a green wall on the western flank of the proposed development. This report gives RBKC Planning Committee’s reasons for refusing the revised application, voting 10 – 2 against in a meeting on 31 January 2018.
- 2018 Mayor (Khan) Stage 2 Report. The Mayor’s reasons for calling this September 2017 application in.
HVRA is not against development in the area. We supported Frogmore’s development of sites adjacent to Newcombe House and on the north side of Notting Hill Gate. We would also support a proposal that focused on refurbishment of Newcombe House as a more sympathetic and environmentally friendly approach to the site.
Some additional information on the points made in the Mayor's report:
- Mix of proposed vs current use. The proposed development changes the mix significantly in favour of residential use:
- Office (Class B1) existing Newcombe House site 5,206 m2; proposed 4,390 m2; reduction 816 m2 (-15.7%) taking out space associated with higher paid jobs.
- Retail (Class A1 & A3) existing 2,569 m2; proposed 2,871 m2; increase 303 m2 (+11.7%) adding lower paid jobs.
- Overall the existing retail + office space is 7,775 m2; proposed is 7,261 m2. Assuming this is a proxy for employment, it doesn’t support the developer’s assertion of increasing potential employment on the site.
- Residential (Class C3) existing Newcombe House site 955 m2; proposed 8,740 m2; increase 7,785 m2 (+815.2%).
- Source: RBKC planning officers’ material for Planning Committee meeting on 31st January 2018, para 4.6. All figures stated are gross internal area (GIA).
- Schedule of apartment values used in the developer’s viability report: 2017 Application Viability Report – on page 112 of this document. Note that the average assumed price in the viability report for the residential units is £4.0m, whilst the highest is £15.1m and the lowest £1.0m. It is very likely that the majority of units will be sold as investments and will do nothing to address the shortage of housing in London in any real way.
- Affordable housing:
- The developer maintained in their appeal to the first 2016 refusal that site viability did not support any affordable housing. In their 2017 revised application they found they were able to fund 9 units of affordable housing without changing any other aspect of the proposal.
- The impact of the proposed 2017 development on residential space is summarised in para 7.17 of RBKC planning officers’ material for Planning Committee meeting on 31st January 2018. That para states “the proportion of affordable floorspace provision amounts to 1.78% of the overall additional residential floorspace”. This is well below either aspirational or actual target additions for both the Mayor and RBKC.
- Royston Court (the current site’s 20 social rented housing studio units) was emptied of its residents at least 12 months ago and the building closed up. It is currently empty. Notting Hill Housing Trust have a 125 year lease on the building. They have agreed a sale to Notting Hill Gate KCS Ltd, contingent on the latter getting approval for their proposed development.
- Step Free Access (SFA). The report focuses on SFA as a valuable contribution to accessibility that would benefit all of London, not just RBKC. This is true, but possibly not to the extent stated in the report:
- “Fully funded by the applicant, this SFA would be delivered from street level to the eastbound platform of the Circle Line and District Line, through two new lifts and walkways. This would provide the leverage to negotiate for the provision of SFA to the northbound platform as part of the proposals on the adjacent David Game House site.” (Para 16). David Game House is currently being refurbished by Frogmore who own that property. Planning consent has been given and the work is in-flight. It’s difficult to imagine that Frogmore would entertain changing their plans to include access to the clockwise (northbound) Circle Line platform, let alone fund it, when they now have no economic reason for doing so.
- “In addition, the scheme would provide stair-free access to the Central Line, which 128,837 customers use weekly.” (Para 18). As far as I am aware the proposal is limited to access to the anti-clockwise Circle Line platform. There would be a further flight of steps down to the walkway to the Central Line escalators that would mean step-free access would not be available to the Central Line.
- Health centre. The proposed development includes a new health centre. Two existing practices would combine and move from their current locations north of Notting Hill Gate. The two practices are not currently threatened with closure and the new location would service nil additional patients (comments from the practice heads in the RBKC Planning Committee meeting on 31st December 2018). The move would make access for existing patients more time consuming and difficult since the new location is some distance to the south of the two current locations.
- Overview of the site. This drawing of the site included in the developer’s proposal gives a good perspective view. North is at approximately 1 o’clock looking at the image. The site’s boundary roads are named. The proposed tower is 50% higher than the existing tower, and much more prominently positioned relative to Notting Hill Gate (i.e. on the pavement).