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Saturday, 27 February 2016


This letter expresses precisely the problems residents have defending their community from rich developers.
Developers have millions to push their unwanted projects, plus unlimited access to officers: residents will have none of these things. They have to fight with their hands tied behind their back.


Dear Dame
I wanted to bring this proposed development and the strong neighbourhood objection to your attention.  
We would appreciate it very much if you would highlight this in your column and for everybody to sign the petition by clicking HERE

Neighbours are hugely concerned about the threat to our skyline and the preservation of the character of this unique part of London.

Situated on the corner of Kensington Church Street and Notting Hill Gate, this  18-storey, 71m tower will rise 26 m (8 storeys) above the original slab block, setting a very dangerous precedent for either building other new tall buildings, or extending upwards, existing  tall buildings.

It is clear to everybody that the very unfortunate existing block on this prominent site is already completely out of scale with the architecture of surrounding streets, and very harmful to the character of the local conservation areas, some of London’s best.  A replacement could thus have been a wonderful opportunity to redress this imbalance by creating a new structure linking the old with the new while offering a major improvement to the local streetscape and public realm. The proposed Newcombe House will however just exacerbate the current situation, as, despite the numerous presentation drawings that accompany the planning application, it absolutely does not take into consideration the need to improve its relationship with the prevalent local low rise building typology, nor the wishes of the communities that live in the area.   The very insufficient visuals and CGIs clearly show the intrusive nature of the relationship between Newcombe house and the surrounding streets.

The planning application Design and Access Statement would like us to believe that the proposed building is replacing poor quality of architecture with a much better standard. In reality, the new development is equally nondescript and mediocre, the product of several decades of commercial architecture that uses decoration and bling to add “excitement” to what is really an exercise of maximising every square inch of the plot for the benefit of the developer.

While we support the redevelopment of the existing structure, we urge RBKC to insist on a far superior quality of architecture and a maximum height equal to that of the existing slab block.

Yours sincerely


  1. Doubtless the developers have spent tens, if not hundreds of thousands over friendly lunches with the planners, ensuring that they get a recommendation.
    It's time residents were allowed to sit in on these access meetings. We have no power and we live here.

  2. This is a monstrous proposal. The wind effect in Nottinghill Gate and surrounding streets will be monstrous.

    For some inexplicable reason, the Kensington Society seems to be going along with the proposal.

    What is Amanda Frame up to?

  3. The essence of Nottinghill Gate living is "Cafe Society". This is unique in the Royal Borough. Nottinghill Gate has been bought up, lock stock and barrel, by three developers. They are in the process, together, of replacing our culture with buy to leave luxury housing.

    What on earth is the COuncil up to. Going along with this trash.

    More brown envelopes?

    Leader Paget-Brown is adamant that there are no brown envelopes and that his planners "do a good job". Quite so. But they regulalrly shaft residents, who pay their salaries. Why?

    Leaders need to listen to gossip and dig into the undergrowth. And take a view about whether there is anything to be concerned about. If he was connected up, PB would be aware that the Evening Standard have a huge file on a recent Deputy Leader and his planning activities. And a major residents' association has a file on the assets of a recent Chairman of Planning that does not stack up with his income. Of course it could all be misinformation. But what is clear is that planning in Hornton Street is not resident friendly. And in a democracy, Hornton Street should be the servant of the voters. This is what the hornets are agitating about

    1. The only friend that residents have is the Dame and her hornets.

  4. They are having a larf. No thank you. Have they not heard what happened to Candy Bros at Knightsbridge & CapCo with Earls Court foreign buyers, Russians and Asians, are not buying luxury flats. The property crash is coming & the bottom is falling out.

    We need a year off from grubby asset strippers destroying our city and borough.

  5. Good grief, this is an absolute nightmare!

  6. Nottinghill Resident28 February 2016 at 07:58

    There is already a single high rise block in Nottinghill Gate that was built in the 1960's by the GLC to house Fire Brigade employees. Inspired thinking executed with dubious architecture. The block has been sold off and is now private flats. A big downside for residents is the wind that bounces and accelerates off the block and creates huge vortex effects in neighbouring streets. The wind empties public refuse bins and collects discarded Wimpy cartons and deposits all this trash outside homes. And it makes walking and moving around very uncomfortable.

    Now an even bigger tower block is proposed that will make matters infinitely worse. There have been no wind studies required by the Planners and once again the life of residents will be hell.

  7. Let everyone be very clear. Three major developments by three developers are in the pipeline. THE WHOLE OF NOTTINGHILL GATE, including the first block of Kensington Church Street, will be demolished and replaced by buy to leave flats. The Council is going along with this.

    This is TEN YEARS of noise filth and disruption for local residents. And half way down Kensington Church Street the whole Lancer Square development (15 years old) is about to be demolished and replaced by buy to leave flats.

    The life of locals is going to be HELL ON EARTH.

    Why does Hornton Street planning not take into account the quality of life of the residents who pay Council Tax and spend in the community to keep it afloat?

    Priorities are wrong. Common sense is invisible. Democracy is not working. Brown envelopes have corrupted the system.

    1. None of these people actually live in our locality.. so why should they be bothered?

  8. This is a Council that is disconnected from the people it is supposed to represent. There is a huge opportunity for Cllr Paget-Brown, the Conservative Leader, to make a name for himself and restore democracy to Kensington and Chelsea.

    For the time being, Cllr Paget-Brown appears to treading water as a time server.

    For all his faults, Cllr Moylan would have changed direction and shaken things up if he had been elected Leader. But the poodles wanted a quiet life.

  9. SIGN THE PETITION please... more signatures, the better....

  10. Moylan has only changed direction to annoy NPB. If he became Leader he would be even more in the pocket of the developers. I have been to public consultation meetings that have involved developers and architects and it is unnerving how deferential all the Council officers and most of the councillors are towards they. They truly do have us in a vice-like grip.
    PS I went as a child to admire the "new, modern" Notting Hill Gate and to eat and drink the innovative "Wimpies" and "Whippsies in the Wimpy bar that had just crossed the Atlantic. I like the Wimpy but not the architecture.

    1. Above is a very interesting observation. "New, modern, Nottinghill Gate" was of course given planning permission by the Council. It may not be to everyone's taste but it is a rare example of mass 70's architecture which has a historical significance.

      The rebuilding was possible because it was the first phase of knocking down the old stuff to make room for a three lane highway to the West of England. But the planners did not get their act together and the three lanes only materialised for a couple of hundred yards in Nottinghill Gate. Holland Park and Bayswater retained their two lane thoroughfare. SO Nottinghill Gate ended up with a highway pink elephant and a unique 70s architecture implant.

      Clever guys, these planners. Now they are spinning their wheels again. This time, a buy to leave white elephant.

    2. Local Historian has a quaint idea of planning developments in Nottinghill Gate. Maybe there was a different version.

      "Planning Officer, I want to knock down The Gate and rebuild with a swinging 70s center"

      Planning Officer
      Impossible Sir. Its all done and dusted. The area was extensively patched up after the German bombs.

      I could make it worth your while

      Planning Officer
      It would be a very big exercise to work the system
      and make this happen

      No problem. Figure it out. You will be well looked after.

      Planning Officer (one week later)
      I think there is a way. Lots of local traffic congestion. I have spoken to my colleague at the GLC and we can start a compulsory purchase programme to buy up properties either side of the road in order to widen the highway. Do you get my drift?

      This sounds very sensible. Could you come to lunch so that we can discuss the details?

    3. Except it was a 1960s development, not a 1970s development.

    4. Thank you for the correction, 22.22.

      Brown envelopes in 1960 looked the same as brown envelopes in 1970.

  11. Off with their heads

  12. The bottom is falling out of the prime central London property market; particularly the buy to let market. The carnival has moved on.

    1. This is not buy to let. It is buy to leave. Rich foreigners who want to park hot money in London. And leave their flats empty - so no daily spending to support the local community of shops, restaurants, dry cleaners etc. The Town Hall is assisting crooks and spivs to wreck our society, wreck our culture, and destroy our businesses. This is Tory democracy, K&C style

  13. The picture is DREADFUL. This is not what ancient Kensington should look like.

    WAKE UP Paget-Brown

  14. This all makes very sad reading. The developments that were approved by the Council (one of them 15 years ago at Lancer Square and the other 60 years ago at Nottinghill Gate) now derided as "rubbish" and "bad architecture" as the excuse to pull down and replace with buy to leave.

    Hot foreign money + developers greed + corrupt planning = misery for residents and empty shops

  15. And empty homes. No one will live there.

    Walking up Church Street today, it's impossible to exaggerate the damage the proposed tower will do to the skyline as well as the neighbourhood.

    1. The Ward Councillors, Cllr Ahern, Cllr Faulks and Cllr Freeman, are failing to represent the concerns of residents. They should be listening and articulating. Instead we have a deafening silence.


  16. Member, Campden Hill Residents Association1 March 2016 at 08:36

    Cllr Freeman is Mayor, and therefore "out of it". Cllr Ahern has made his views known ("planning needs to be more resident friendly") and feels he has done enough. Cllr Faulks was due to attend a protest meeting. Did she turn up? What is she doing?

  17. The Casting Director1 March 2016 at 10:15

    Cllr Faulks has good legs but not much up top. Pooter Cockell backed her as he thought that she might be his entree into literary society.
    Just like he thought Feilding Mellen would introduce him to decadent aristocratic circles.
    A big mistake was made when casting for the Dad's Army film took place. Pooter, with the addition of a 'tache, would have been the spitting image of Capt Mainwaring


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