The developer of the large Newcombe House complex has now submitted a new application to the council’s planning department. The main difference between this application and the previous one, is that one of the buildings along Kensington Church Street now will be reserved for affordable housing.
The first application, submitted in November 2015, was refused by the council’s planning committee in April 2016 after an intensive online campaign against it. The developer appealed the refusal to the Planning Inspectorate, and after a four-day public inquiry in February 2017, the planning inspector assigned to the case, David Nicholson, dismissed the appeal in June.
The inspector stated in his decision that “the scheme would be acceptable and accord with the development plan with regard to character and appearance, and design.” He felt that “there would be some less than substantial harm to some designated heritage assets. However, in each instance of harm, or even taken together, the substantial benefits of the scheme would clearly outweigh this.” But he agreed with the council that “the redevelopment would result in the loss of social housing and fail to deliver any affordable housing on site,” which “could not be justified on the grounds of viability.” He therefore decided to dismiss the developer’s appeal, but urged the developer to have another look at the plans and see if it wasn’t possible to find a solution to the lack of affordable housing.
The loss of affordable housing he referred to, was 20 studio flats for former rough sleepers in Royston Court, one of the buildings that will be demolished to give way for the new complex. The new application addresses this, by reconfiguring Kensington Church Street Building 2 (situated in the corner of Kensington Church Street and Kensington Plane, just like Royston Court) for affordable housing. Originally configured to have three 1-bed flats and six 2-bed flats for full market price, it will now have three 1-bed flats, three 2-bed flats and three 3-bed flats intended for affordable housing. According to the developer, the total floor space will be slightly more than what the 20 bedsits had. And Notting Hill Trust, which owned the bedsits and has already found alternative lodging for the residents, “has expressed their support for this proposal and is keen to manage the future affordable homes,” according ton the developer.
The rest of the new proposal is largely be identical to the previous one, so the large GP surgery will remain, as will the Farmer’s Market and the step-free access to the tube station’s eastern platform for the District and Circle lines. There will also be no change to the plans for offices and shops.
The application and all its documents can be found on the RBKC planning application site. The last day for comments is Friday 13 October.