Newcombe house proposal
A new planning application has been put forward which is virtually identical to the one outlined below - please see the latest newsletter for details.
The Newcombe House site extends from, and includes Kensington Place Restaurant including as it does Royston House — 20 social housing flats, up Kensington Church street to Waterstones, the raised courtyard and of course the tower itself. Sadly the owners have let it rundown and it is now in need of either an upgrade or a full redevelopment of the whole site.
Brockton Capital, the owners since 2011 have opted for a very full redevelopment
of the whole site including increasing the height of the unloved single tower from
43 to 73 metres (150 to 240ft) and building in the majority of the carpark.
Before and after their proposal
The application was refused by RBK&C in March 2016 and also the Mayor of London, who has a right to overrule local authorities on "major developments involving tower blocks" chose not to overrule the decision deeming the proposal excessive and offensive to the smaller scale local buildings.
The full application can be viewed on the RBK&C website, however here are a few images from the application to give you a flavour:
"A two storey excavation of the the whole site! — 20 lorries everyday for 3 and a half years."
"A Doctor's surgery was promised but no deal has been signed"
"The proposed tower is 50% taller than before, setting a bad precedent in conservation areas where no building is over six storeys"
"40 luxury investment flats will do nothing for the housing crisis"
"Where have 20 units of social housing gone? What about the people in need?"
Extract from our letter to the developer Brockton capital
Hillgate Village Residents' Association had commented on the proposals to the developer prior to their submission of the planning application but our opinions fell on deaf ears.
Once the application had been refused we again contacted Brockton Capital and had a meeting at their offices regretfully they again refused our suggestions.
1, It is not currently your intention to prepare and submit a different proposal to RBKC but you will be concentrating your efforts on the planning appeal that you have just lodged.
2, This of course means that our ideas for modification are not at present needed but for clarity they are that the three points of community benefit should all three be enhanced. It is noted that the doctors' surgery design you found "challenging" and thus is 900sqm instead of the 1,000sqm that the NHS would ideally like, it is spread over four floors rather than two and is buried in the centre of the plan making ambulance and taxi access difficult. Secondly whilst the welcome piazza is big enough for the stalls of the Farmers' Market, the delivery of the stalls and the produce will have to be made by parking in Kensington Church Street ( approx. fifteen vans/lorries waiting around twenty minutes each at 8:30am and again to load up at 1:30pm. Thirdly, I understand your point that you will be buying the social housing block with vacant possession from NHHG but we do strongly feel that you could and should be providing such accommodation as part of your scheme.
3, On the question of design we asked at meetings over the last year or two for the North alleyway access to be wider, say 10m instead of your proposed 5m and I showed you a photograph of a pedestrian access of that size working successfully at Cheltenham Racecourse. We have also asked for the Western perimeter block to be moved away from the Circle Line platforms, it at present is very aggressively positioned on top of the edge of the Grade Two listed railway roof, blocking views from the rear of twenty dwellings dating back from 1870. I suggested that the accommodation provided by your perimeter block could be incorporated by raising the East perimeter block by one storey which would then liberate more space in the piazza thus in turn allowing Farmers' Market lorries to park. You responded that this might involve rights of light issues but I am not convinced that this point has been fully explored.
4, The above points are all specific, straightforward and have been raised before although they have all been dismissed by you. The last point is of course the tower which we who will have to live beside it would rather did not exist. We realise that this is an unrealistic wish however other developments, for instance the Commonwealth Institute have managed luxury residential housing but avoided a massive tower eight times taller than its immediate neighbours. If in due course you do decide to redesign your proposals please let me know and I should be happy to be involved."