Fight for a BETTER scheme for the regeneration of Notting Hill Gate – OBJECT to the proposed Newcombe Tower!
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. The height and design of the proposed tower would have a significant negative impact on the surrounding Conservation Areas. The revised July 2018 application actually increases heights of some other buildings and the massing of the proposed development.
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. It is acknowledged that some community benefits are proposed, but these are insufficient to outweigh the harm likely to be caused to the area and community by a much taller tower:
Step free access at Notting Hill Gate tube station will be provided to one platform out of four (the anticlockwise, Circle line platform only). Northbound travellers wanting to use step-free access on the Circle Line to exit at NHG will have to pass the station and reverse their journey at Edgware Road.
No additional patient capacity is likely to be created by two existing surgeries north of the Gate moving to the one proposed in the application. Relocating to a single surgery at Notting Hill Gate will increase journey times for many patients of the existing surgeries. The existing surgeries are not under threat of closure.
The Farmers' Market will have to move for the duration of the building works. Will there be any Farmers' Market to return in the future?
5. 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.
6. The works will significantly affect 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 any promised community benefits if the project is under financial strain?
8. Proposed works at the Newcombe House site will surround the Bethesda Chapel, the oldest building in the area. The congregation say the Chapel has already been damaged by works in the area and is very concerned by the proposals.
9. 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. Most 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.
10. Letting one developer build an excessively tall tower will create a precedent, opening the floodgates for other towers on Notting Hill Gate and elsewhere in west London.
11. The site does need rejuvenating but in a much more imaginative, mixed-use way for the benefit of the whole community.