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Friday, 16 June 2017


The Dame's Planning Guru writes....

The thrust of the report exposes a dishonest developer being economical with the truth about the project economics.  And colluding with a greedy Housing Trust. The inspector considers that the developer, in seeking to conceal his profits and maximise value, put forward economics showing that the site value is too high, some evidence that the development value is too low, and the anticipated build costs are too great” and the

“The viability of the scheme has been understated”. “I am not persuaded that there needs to be a loss of the existing social housing bed spaces”

He went on to hammer the NHHT (Notting Hill Housing Trust), owner of the Social Housing, who would make a packet from selling the 125 lease of the social housing which is a core part of the site. NHHT wrote that “all residents it had met with have expressed a positive desire to be rehoused”. However this was contradicted by an occupant who gave evidence at the Appeal (he was excellent: Terence Hutton of Royston Court - a guy struggling to get his life back together from depression and alcohol)

So what we see is the thoroughly dishonest stitch up of money and developers (again) screwing our society in Kensington.

The objections of the Hillgate Residents Association (50% increase in the height of Newcombe Tower and appearance) were all dismissed.

It is pretty clear that the developers will come back with essentially the same proposal and find the money to build in 20 bedsits to keep social housing within the development. They will drop the GP surgery from the development and maybe the public space at the back of the building (these were the two things that the Kensington Society felt they negotiated in return for their support and the excitement of being small time power brokers). And they will drop all the other little sweeteners eg one way escalator to the Underground and free car club.

The whole thing is sad and pathetic.

In particular, the Planning Department needs to raise its game and take informed judgments about costs and viability in order to stop itself being hoodwinked. But then why would they want to do this in a developer friendly environment?

More evidence of the need for a clear out in Hornton Street. The whole context and structure of the culture there is rotten.


  1. There is an underlying culture of money and profits in Kensington and Chelsea that is poisoning the Royal Borough. It is a pity that the Leadership in the Town Hall is not clever enough to see through this and not strong enough to resist it.

    If it is allowed to continue, residents will take to the streets. The aftermath of Grenfell Tower should be a wake up call for piggy. What more does he need?

  2. Fly On The Wall16 June 2017 at 22:38

    Anyone who attends something like the Mayor making, once a year in the Council Chamber, when all the Councillors dress up and ponce around in fancy clothes, and make speeches to each other saying how wonderful they have been in the past year, understands clearly how divorced from reality and how out of touch the current Council is with residents and life as it is.

    A new mode of operation, connected up with residents and "what id what" in the Royal Borough, is long overdue.

  3. Newcombe House is a story of greed. Pure and simple. And the absence of a moderating hand in Hornton Street from all those highly paid planning officers. Paid for out of Council tax.

  4. Money - People = Profit

  5. Campden resident17 June 2017 at 08:57

    Now that the Inspector has exposed the Newcombe House developer for what he is, a greedy and exploitative parasite, Councillors need to play hardball when he returns to salvage his project. Officers must be told that they have to drive a hard bargain on behalf of residents. An increase of onsite social housing should be a minimum requirement.

    And the Notting Hill Housing Trust should be named and shamed. Why is it that these non profit making societies (Affinity Sutton is another) have become so adept at ripping off the poor and needy?

  6. Shoddy participation by the Kensington Society who backed the developers against residents. Like the old Chelsea Society, the KS is past its sell by date and needs new leadership


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