Councils oppose 24-storey block in Ladbroke Grove

By Owen Sheppard, Local Democracy Reporter

Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea councils have objected to proposals to build a 24-storey tower block in Scrubs Lane.

The plans for more than 200 flats, on an area of warehouses beside the grade I-listed St Mary’s Cemetery, were submitted by City and Docklands Ltd. The company calls the development the North Kensington Gate.

The planning application will be decided in November by the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), rather than by a council.

This new application follows a similar but smaller one on the same location from another company, Aurora Developments, that was given the green light by the OPDC in 2018.

The previous development was 22 storeys and included 164 flats. The new application asks for 208 flats, but there are fewer three-bedroom “family-sized” homes.

The original scheme proved controversial because of its low amount of affordable housing.

Hammersmith and Fulham’s policy asks for 50 per cent of all new flats in major developments to be “affordable”. The 2018 scheme promised 30 per cent affordable housing, while the new version offers 32 per cent.

The types of affordable housing have significantly changed. Documents from the 2020 scheme propose that, of the 32 per cent of flats that would be affordable, the vast majority would be for sale with shared ownership arrangements. The rest – 11 flats – would be available at “London Living rents”.

On October 13, Hammersmith and Fulham council’s planning committee was asked to agree on a representation it will make to the OPDC.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of objecting to the new plans.

Council planning officer Peter Wilson told the committee: “One of the principal objections remains around affordable housing.

“It has increased from 30 per cent to 32 per cent, which does not meet the LBHF (council’s) or OPDC’s local planning requirements of 50 per cent.”

Conservative councillor Alex Karmel said he thought the new scheme was “incredibly likely” to be approved by the OPDC’s Planning Committee on November 12.

Kensington and Chelsea Council wrote to the OPDC on September 4, saying the scheme’s height and “prosaic” design would be harmful to the setting of the listed cemetery.

City and Docklands said in its plans: “The vision of the previous applicant was to provide high quality, luxury homes, aimed at the higher end of the market, along with high quality employment accommodation and a new landmark tall building…

“The design vision for this application remains as originally set out, with the original architects, Allies and Morrison, retained. The amendments by City and Docklands seek to react to market demand through the provision of additional private and affordable homes.”

The floor-to-ceiling heights in the developments have also been shortened by 20cm per floor.

Other changes include a reduction in the number of car parking spaces, from 32 to 12 spaces for blue badge holders.

Residents’ group, the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs, also objected.

The OPDC was set up in 2015 by former London Mayor Boris Johnson, with the aim of forming a new local authority to oversee the regeneration of 650 hectares of mostly industrial land around new HS2 and Crossrail stations. A football pitch is typically 0.8 hectares.

The OPDC’s Planning Committee includes several industry experts and councillors from Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing and Brent.

Councillors Wesley Harcourt and Natalia Perez, who sit on Hammersmith and Fulham’s and the OPDC planning committees, both recused themselves from the October 13 council meeting.

Pictured top: An artist’s impression of what the new development could look like


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