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Friday, 29 May 2015
AN URGENT ALERT FROM THE KENSINGTON SOCIETY
We apologise for all the alerts but it seems to be a very active time of year or it might be the developers are trying to “tidy up” before Mr Bore departs.
There are 2 pressing issues:
· the current revised application and appeal against the refusal for the Odeon and old Post Office site · the appeal by the Candy brothers against the refusal for the demolition and replacement of Dukes Lodge, Holland Park.
Odeon The following is a summary of the Kensington Society’s objection to the Odeon application (PP/15/02618):
The new application reflecting the refusal in January now includes one cinema facility (no longer the Earl’s Court second cinema) with more than 1000 seats for 7 screens in the basement. The entrance is through existing Odeon entrance but reduced in size. There is a gate closing the site off at dusk and opening at dawn. The Society welcomed the main changes made in response to the refusal of the last scheme in January, especially the cinema screens now being entered exclusively from the original/current entrance in Kensington High Street and the reduction in height of the main residential building. However:
Points of objection: · Loss of active forecourt: We have always expressed our desire for an active use of the forecourt. We have objected to the loss of the coffee shop which currently services from 8am to 10pm and, thus, offering continuous activity throughout the day and provides a local amenity at this end of the High Street. This activity animates the forecourt of the cinema. The plans for the current application still shows tables and chairs on the forecourt - do not be deceived - there is no intention for a similar coffee shop/café. A concession on one side of the cinema lobby shares the function with the tickets counter; this is not acceptable as it will only function during cinema hours; it is not visible from the forecourt; it is not readily open or accessible to the public and has limited means to serve the forecourt. The “wings” or corners of the façade where the cafe shop is now are to be used exclusively for a lift each. The previous versions including the consented scheme had retail units in each corner tower which is far more desirable.
Further loss of active space to luxury housing: We never envisaged the total loss of the Post Office to another entrance for the luxury flats. The entire ground floor of the former Post Office is given over to this grand entrance. The luxury flats have a grand entrance in their own private forecourt and another entrance at this position results in the loss of the potential retail/commercial use which would help activate the forecourt. The consented scheme had all the access to the luxury flats via the exclusive court at the rear of the site. Why cannot all access be as already approved? The loss of any active use on the High Street is opposed.
An additional issue is the way in which this application has been handled by the planning department. 406 objections were received for the application which was refused by PAC (planning applications committee) on a vote of 11 against to 1. There is now an appeal against that refusal. No one, including this Society, has received notification of the application nor the appeal. This application has over 66 pages of documents with little or no clear description, many of which are over 6 Mb. Councillors have even called us to help find the plans. We have asked for a presentation to the public so that the public – you and the other 406 objectors – can assess for the proposal within this application. We have not had a response.