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Lots Road scheme faces blackout

Terry Farrell & Partners' plans for the £350 million redevelopment of Lots Road power station are facing a major setback as planners prepare for refusal.

Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea are both expected to refuse the scheme - which lies across the two London boroughs - within the next few weeks.

The timing of the refusals coincides with the run-up to local elections on 2 May, as residents press ahead with a large-scale campaign against the redevelopment.

The site is surrounded by marginal wards in both boroughs.

Hammersmith and Fulham's planning committee was expected to reject the plans on Monday.

But planners spotted a flaw in their handling of the application, and a decision was deferred until 4 April. The move shows the borough's determination to ensure its position is legally watertight should developers appeal.

A spokesperson for Hammersmith and Fulham said objections were based on the overdevelopment of the site, the traffic problems that would be created as a result of the high-density, 700-apartment residential scheme and the height of the two proposed 39-storey towers.

Meanwhile, neighbouring borough Kensington and Chelsea is also set to refuse on 20 March. Planning officers said the scheme would represent a 'major departure' from their UDP and said it would require considerable reworking before it could win their support. The borough's UDP prevents the construction of tall buildings above those in the neighbouring area, in this case the 20-storey World's End Estate.

A spokesperson for developer Circadian said it was surprised to discover Hammersmith and Fulham was set to refuse, since negotiations had 'appeared to be progressing well'.

But Kensington and Chelsea denied that it was in a hurry to refuse the scheme in the run up to elections. The Conservativerun borough denied it was keen to prove its independence from powerful developers to win over the marginal Cremorne ward.

Councillor Barry Phelps, cabinet member for planning, said: 'The Royal borough council does not play politics with quasi-judicial decisions.'

Labour-led Hammersmith and Fulham also denied it was overly concerned over votes.

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