Thank you for visiting the planning application website for Newcombe House, Notting Hill Gate, London. This website contains the planning documentation for the proposals submitted in September 2017 to The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and subsequently revised in July 2018 in a submission to the London Mayor. The July 2018 proposals were granted permission by the Secretary of State in June 2020.
The various documents have been carefully grouped into sections within the Application Documents tab above to allow you to learn more about this key regeneration site in Notting Hill Gate.
SUMMARY OF KEY DATES 2018 – 2020
In January 2018, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s (RBKC) Planning Committee considered a report by the Council’s officers and resolved to refuse planning permission for a revised scheme, subject to referral to the London Mayor.
In March 2018, the London Mayor notified RBKC that he would act as the planning authority for the application.
In September 2018, a public Representation Hearing was held and following the hearing the Mayor decided to grant permission for the application subject to planning conditions and conclusion of a section 106 legal agreement.
In March 2019, the application was called in by the Secretary of State following the Mayor of London’s decision to grant planning permission. The Secretary of State directed that the application shall be referred to him instead of being dealt with by the Mayor and a Public Inquiry was held in November 2019.
In June 2020, the Secretary State indicated that he agreed with the recommendation contained in the report of his Public Inquiry Inspector that planning permission should be granted. His decision to grant planning permission can be read in the Secretary of State’s letter along with the Inspector’s report.
CHANGES TO THE APPLICATION PRIOR TO THE MAYOR’S DECISION
Applications taken over by the London Mayor routinely lead to further revisions. Given RBKC’s reason for refusal on grounds of insufficient affordable housing, an extra 14 on-site affordable homes were introduced meaning that there will be 23 in total (35% by habitable room, 42% by unit).
To deliver the increased affordable housing, an extra storey was added to one of the buildings on Kensington Church Street and a further two storeys were added above the proposed doctors’ surgery in the corner of the public square. There was no change in height to tallest elements of the proposals.
A draft legal agreement with Notting Hill Genesis was also put in place to provide a further 10 affordable homes off-site with nomination rights for RBKC; an increase in employment floorspace to create even more jobs; and an improved doctor’s surgery which now had a second lift.
All the other elements of the refused RBKC application were unchanged in terms of community benefits as explained below.
ORIGINAL APPLICATION: 2011 – 2017
The site was acquired in 2011 and after the involvement of RBKC, residents, civic groups and other stakeholders, plans for 46 new homes, employment and retail space along with a new public square were submitted in December 2015. This planning application envisaged a series of six buildings ranging in height from 3 storeys to 18 storeys.
The proposals included a number of community benefits:
- A new 10,000 sq. ft doctors’ surgery providing space for nine GP’s serving 18,000 residentsfully supported by the NHS;
- Funding for and delivery of the step-free access to the Notting Hill Gate District and Circle eastern platforms fully supported by Transport for London;
- Potential for 440 jobs provided by the proposed offices and the shops;
- A vibrant new public square available as a future home for the popular Farmers’ Market.
In April 2016, RBKC refused planning permission, against the recommendation of their planning officers, on three grounds: design, height and massing; loss of the socially rented bedsits on-site; and absence of agreed developer (section 106) obligations.
Notting Hill Gate KCS Limited appealed the decision in May 2016. The appeal was heard at a public inquiry before an independent Inspector in February 2017. In his report, published in June 2017, the inspector found that the amount of development along with the proposed height and massing were acceptable and decided that the proposals were of high quality design. He also found no harmful impacts on the amenity of neighbouring residents or the character and appearance of the surrounding area including nearby Conservation Areas.
However, having endorsed the design, height and general approach of the proposals, he decided not to allow the appeal due to a shortcoming in a single specific area, namely the loss of the on-site socially rented bedsits and an insufficient contribution towards off-site affordable housing provision.
REVISED APPLICATION: 2017 – 2018
A new revised application was submitted in September 2017 with one main change being the introduction of 9 on-site affordable homes in one of the proposed Kensington Church Street buildings. The scheme still retained the same design, height and massing endorsed by the Inspector as well as the community benefits contained in the original proposals.
Despite a second recommendation by RBKC officers for approval, the Planning Committee resolved at the end of January 2018 that it was minded to refuse planning permission. The reasons given were similar to those given in April 2016.
REFERRAL TO THE LONDON MAYOR: 2018
All applications of potential strategic importance are automatically referred to the London Mayor for his consideration. The local authority cannot make the final decision.
On 26 March 2018, the Mayor notified RBKC that he would act as the local planning authority. The reasons given for the Mayoral intervention were that the Newcombe House proposals would have a significant impact on the implementation of the London Plan; there were likely impacts on more than one borough; and that there were sound planning reasons for doing so.
Before determining a planning application, the Mayor must undertake statutory consultation and give the applicant and the relevant local planning authority the opportunity to make oral representations at a Hearing. In addition, individuals and organisations that have previously made written representations about the application will be eligible to request to speak.
Notting Hill Gate KCS Limited took steps in August 2017 to update local residents and businesses with the latest developments through the distribution of a community newsletter. A further community newsletter was distributed in July 2018 to update local residents and businesses about the revised GLA application.
KEY REGENERATION BENEFITS
By transforming and optimising the potential of this highly sustainable brownfield site, the development proposes to deliver a high quality mixed-use urban quarter with major regeneration benefits for Notting Hill Gate.
In his report, the Inspector said, “As a whole, the benefits of the redevelopment would be substantial and be supported by a raft of development plan policies.” The revised proposals submitted to the London Mayor retained all of these community benefits and supplemented them with the additional benefit of on-site affordable housing. Key benefits of the revised application included:
- Replacement of tired and unattractive buildings including an existing tall building which is a recognised ‘eyesore’;
- Exceptional quality architecture and urban design that will act as a catalyst for the further regeneration of Notting Hill Gate;
- On-site affordable housing delivering 23 new socially rented homes and providing more affordable housing space than previously provided on site, meaning that there is a net increase in provision resulting from the regeneration plans;
- Off-site affordable housing to be provided by Notting Hill Housing Trust – a further ten new socially rented homes two bedroomed homes with nomination rights given to the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea;
- A vibrant and inclusive public square with level access from surrounding streets and available as a future home for the popular Farmers’ Market;
- An outstanding new building that will mark the corner of Notting Hill Gate/Kensington Church Street;
- Introduction of new green wall adjacent to the Underground Station which seeks to benefit the view from the rear of properties on Jameson Street;
- High quality Grade A flexible office employment space to underpin and strengthen Notting Hill Gate as a commercial hub;
- Shops, restaurants and leisure uses animating the ground floor and public square with carefully curated independent retailers;
- An estimated 440 jobs resulting from the new office and retail uses;
- High quality residential accommodation comprising a range of unit sizes;
- A new GP surgery strongly supported by the NHS with space for up to 9 GP’s serving some 18,000 people;
- A sustainable development using renewable energy;
- Public transport improvements with step-free access to the District & Circle Line eastern platform supported by the Greater London Authority and Transport for London.