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Competition: Kensington and Chelsea characterisation study

Worlds End Estate, Chelsea
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The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is seeking a consultant for a new characterisation and densification study

The winning team will explore a range of options for intensifying residential development on various small and medium-sized sites across the central London borough, which is one of the most densely occupied in the capital.

The study will establish a series of character areas and also produce high-level advice for the delivery of new contextual housing on constrained plots. The contract comes two years after the Grenfell Tower fire in the north of the borough which is the subject of an ongoing inquiry and follows the council’s decision to drop its previous estates regeneration strategy.

In its brief, the council say it is commissioning ‘an evidence-based study that will consider both the character of the borough and the potential for delivering development to meet its housing need and the wider needs of London. It will investigate opportunities for intensification across small and larger sites.

‘There is a pressing need for significantly more homes to be delivered in the borough, particularly affordable homes in the context of the new Local Plan, the new London Plan and the government’s housing delivery test. Geographically, the borough is the smallest in London but is intensively built up, much of which comprises of an outstanding Victorian townscape.’

Kensington and Chelsea is the smallest borough in London and the third most densely populated. It has some of the most expensive residential property in the country and a major shortage of affordable homes. In February, the council approved a £267 million programme of residential renewals.

Last month, it launched a framework for architects to help deliver the programme. Teams selected will work with the council to deliver a range of refurbishment and repair projects across the 9,467 residential units it manages.

The latest contract will result in a series of characterisation studies which could be used to inform specific site planning briefs and design codes for areas across the borough, which features more than 4,000 listed buildings and is 74 per cent designated conservation area.

RBKC abandoned its previous plans for comprehensive estate regenerations following the Grenfell Tower fire disaster in 2017. The latest study will investigate the potential for new units on infill sites and as additional storeys to existing structures where practical.

Bids will be evaluated 70 per cent on quality and 30 per cent on price. The deadline for applications is 25 October.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Kensington Town Hall
Hornton Street
W8 7NX

Email: Daniel.Massey@rbkc.gov.uk

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