The Book Warehouse plans approved

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These three pictures show the site today (left), the first proposal (middle), and the final, approved solution. (Pictures courtesy of Enstar Capital and Princeton Investments)

Notting Hill Gate will be drastically transformed during the next 5-6 years, with several of the buildings from the 1960s being replaced of updated. It will cause much inconvenience, of course, but hopefully it will result in a much better local centre.

First through the planning application process was the Book Warehouse complex in the corner of Notting Hill Gate and Pembridge Gardens (66-74 Notting Hill Gate).

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The Book Warehouse complex (outlined in red) is situated in the corner of Pembridge Gardens and Notting Hill Gate, opposite Newcombe House.

Initially it was a very poor proposal – dominated by a very tall building in the corner and with the three Victorian houses replaced by a modern building – that was strongly objected to by local residents and eventually refused by the planning department in December 2014. So the developer went back to the drawing board and eventually returned with a much better design, which was submitted in September and approved by the council’s planning committee in January 2016.

The approved plan, which shows that the developers have taken note of the local views, means that the façades of the three Victorian houses (66-70 NHG) will be retained (including the 19th century hand-painted advertisement for Marmalade on the side of 66 NHG). Only the rather bunker-like corner building from 1934 (72-74 NGH), which has housed the Book Warehouse for many years, will be replaced – and the new building will match the height of the surrounding buildings (19 metres). The refused corner building would have been 26 metres high, and thus towered over the neighbouring buildings. It also had a totally square footprint, whereas the new corner building retains the slanted corner so typical of the current building. Because of this, the proposed building looks like an evolution of the current one.

The current complex contains 10 small flats, most of them having only one bedroom, while the new complex will have 18 small flats, most of them studios or one-bedroom flats. The ground floors will continue to be shops and restaurants, while the other floors will be residential. The old building had some more commercial space than the current, as it also contained some offices.

The planned construction time is 16 months, but it is not yet clear when the work will start.