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Thumbs Up to Controversial Notting Hill Gate Scheme

29.06.20

David Hedges investigates the Notting Hill Gate scheme

Five years after first submitting plans, Brockton Capital and U+I have finally bagged planning approval for the development of the Newcombe House site on Kensington Church Street.

Brockton Capital and U+I have finally bagged planning approval for their mixed-use development on Kensington Church Street and Notting Hill Gate, after five years’ of yo-yo decisions.

Newcombe House in W11 can now be replaced with six buildings including a new 17-storey tower, after beleaguered Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick agreed with the Planning Inspector that consent should be granted to the controversial development. The inspector said that the overall impact of the scheme on the local townscape would be “neutral”, but called the new tower “visually engaging, slender and elegant” and decreed that the development “would represent a considerable improvement on what currently occupies the site.”

Approved designs by Urban Sense Architecture promise to deliver 55 new homes (35% affordable) alongside a new medical surgery, office space and some shops. This marks an increase in resi units and the proportion of affordable homes from the original plans for the one-acre site (submitted back in 2015). the affordable housing element lent “very substantial weight” to Jenrick’s final decision, says the MHCLG’s approval letter.

Brockton Capital acquired the unsightly office and retail block near Kensington Palace Gardens, in partnership with Development Securities (now U+I Group), in 2011, paying something in the region of £47.5m.

It’s been quite a ride for the developer since then. RBKC rejected the scheme twice in 2016 and in 2017, before Mayor of London Sadiq Khan weighed-in to approve it in September 2018. But former Housing Secretary James Brokenshire issued a holding directive a couple of months later (November 2018), at the behest of the Royal Borough, to review the Khan’s call. There’s been some vocal local opposition to the project, although The Kensington Society eventually lent its support to the proposals. 

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