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Saturday, 17 February 2018
WHEN IS A CARE HOME NOT A CARE HOME?
Site plan expanded over railway lines.
The developers are proposing the development of the site of Heythrop College as “care homes”. The site currently contains the convent and Heythrop College’s student hall of residence which is classified as institutional residential within the social and community use, not housing. The Council’s Local Plan classifies these uses as low-value social and community uses which accords protection from high-value uses such as expensive housing. The site has limited access with only walking access from Kensington Square or the restricted vehicle access via South End, a narrow, cobbled street.
In summary the proposal:
would be one of the largest developments proposed in central Kensington in the last ten years – a complex of 150 exclusive retirement flats by a developer who specialises in “the most expensive retirement housing in the country” (The Times, 8 Dec 2017);
has been presented as a “care home”/ “extra care housing” for the over 55’s, consisting of 56 one-bedroom units and 94 two-bedroom units, ranging from 31 sqm to 174 sqm, with combined kitchen/dining/living space, separate bedrooms and bathrooms. Additional facilities include swimming pool, gym, café, concierge and housekeeping services, security – standard for luxury housing. These self-contained flats would start at £2 million for a one-bedroom flat rising to £9 million for a larger two-bedroom flat. All are sold with 999-year leases with substantial service charges and care services charged separately;
would involve the building of a raft over the Circle Line for a length of 125 metres to the west increasing the site by one third; and
would involve the longest access route ever to a major construction site through residential streets, from Kensington Road to a constrained access at South End.
We have strong reservations about the substance of the proposals, namely:
thechange of use from social and community uses to an exclusive, luxury retirement housing scheme;
the developer asserts that the proposal is for a “care home”, both for it to qualify as a social and community use rather than housing and so as to avoid providing any affordable housing;
there would be no affordable housing and limited other public benefits;
the scale of demolition, excavation and the construction of the raft over the railway line and the seven buildings plus two level basements would have a massiveimpact on all residents in the area. It is estimated to be a 5-year project which we doubt is achievable due to the access constraints;
the construction traffic management plan estimates constantflows oflarge vehicles travelling to and from KensingtonRoadviaVictoria Road, St Alban’s Grove and the South End (over600 metres) requiringparking suspensionsalong the route because the roads are narrow; and
the increase in both construction time and construction traffic so that the site can be increased by 1/3 over the railway line.
Our conclusion is toopposethe applications, however a few of our members are supportive of the exclusive housing with age restrictions.
We ask that you to review the applications and come to your own opinion. If you do have any questions or oppose our position, please email@example.com. The RBKC website states “public consultation ends “ on the 21 January but objections will be accepted for several weeks following that date.