Newcombe House development up in the air

Another great debate is going on about the Newcombe House development at the corner of Notting Hill Gate and Kensington Church Street. On the one hand there is a strong campaign by residents who oppose it because, although the existing building is really ugly, the developers Notting Hill Gate KCS Ltd plan to replace it with a huge tower which many believe will destroy the appeal of Highgate village. There has been a lot of discussion locally and several anonymous writers have written to the Evening Standard. A ‘Mr Hillgate’ argues that ‘it’s great for the developers, their shareholders and foreign investors, not great for the local community and anyone who loves London’. While on the other hand ‘What’s up’ wrote: ‘The higher the better, the city needs more affordable housing. Maybe they could squeeze two tower blocks into the space and do away with the gardens.  Hyde park is just around the corner’.

The Newcombe House redevelopment area covers the office building at the corner of Notting Hill Gate and Kensington Church Street with Waterstone’s, the buildings along the western side of Kensington Church Street, down to and including the Kensington Place restaurant and fish shop; and the large car park between the Kensington Church Street buildings and the platform roof of Notting Hill Gate underground station, where the farmers’ market puts up its stalls on Saturdays.

The plan means all these buildings would be torn down. Don’t worry, the farmers’ market would be reinstated on Saturdays after construction. The ground floor in seven of the eight buildings would be for 14 shops and restaurants. Above ground floor there would be 4,500m² of offices and 46 flats, most of them with two or three bedrooms and there would be a large GP surgery, with nine doctors serving 18,000 patients, in the main building complex.

While many residents are understandably up in arms the redevelopment application is supported by the farmers’ market, the West London NHS Commissioning Group, the Notting Hill Gate Improvements Group, the Kensington Society and some of the local residents’ associations. Kensington Society says it and the residents’ associations would normally never publicly support an application, but feels that: ‘these plans, after intensive local consultations, on balance provided enough important public benefits – such as the retention of the farmers’ market, the public car-free space, a step-free access to one side of the District and Circle lines’ platform, and the large GP surgery – to offset the negative aspects, such as the high, narrow tower’.

If you would like to object, and we know many of you are rightly concerned about this one, you can go to gov.uk and the case reference number is 3149585 saying why you object. To enter the website is a giant hassle, but obviously worth it if you feel strongly enough. If that doesn’t work, this link is slow but takes you straight through … planninginspectorate

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