By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter
Disappointed residents are hoping that the Government will halt a plan for a £1bn, 30-storey hotel and flats in Kensington.
The deputy mayor of London has given the green light to the Kensington Forum 749-bedroom hotel plan, despite opposition from 800 people.
The scheme will create one of London’s largest hotels. It includes 62 affordable homes but residents in the nearby conservation area said the building would block their light and was overdevelopment.
It was initially turned down by Kensington and Chelsea council after a packed six-and-a-half hour meeting, but called in by the Mayor of London, who approved it.
This was followed by a challenge at the High Court, where the council won its bid to overturn the scheme.
However Sadiq Khan had the right to make the ultimate planning decision.
Ward councillor Greg Hammond said he was disappointed that the Deputy Mayor “sadly approves the Forum Hotel application based on the extra affordable homes and hotel rooms and ignores the harm to the conservation area. Wrong decision.”
He said he hoped Housing Minister Robert Jenrick would use his powers to overturn the decision.
Developers Queensgate Investments and Rockwell said the scheme would bring 800 jobs and create “outstanding visitor accommodation”.
They will also spend nearly £3m on work around Gloucester Road station, and more than £1 million on employment training.
They said the design, by architects SimpsonHaugh, would provide quality accommodation, fitting London’s status as “a major global destination”.
Jason Kow, chief executive of Queensgate Investments, said: “Kensington Forum is an extraordinary scheme of exceptional quality, which will benefit both London and Londoners.
“The new world-class hotel will establish a new benchmark for visitor accommodation in the capital that will doubtless become a landmark for the city.”
However Johnny Thalassites, who is lead member for planning at Kensington and Chelsea council, said: “London’s Deputy Mayor has stated that he will approve a monstrous redevelopment of The Kensington Forum Hotel, subject to referral to the Secretary of State.
“This means that yet again the Mayor and his team have failed to listen to Kensington.
“Our residents have genuine concerns about the plans, which will cause harm to our unique borough, particularly to nearby listed buildings and conservation areas.
“This development offers limited affordable housing as an excuse to justify a massive hotel. We will continue to resist this inappropriate scheme on behalf of our residents.”
Pictured top: An artist’s impression of what the new Kensington Forum could look like
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