Terry Farrell & Partners' long-awaited £350 million Lots Road Power Station redevelopment in Chelsea (pictured) has fallen into further disarray, following a second refusal by Hammersmith and Fulham council's planning committee.
Neighbouring Kensington and Chelsea council - responsible for half the land on which the project would be sited - is also believed to be frustrated by the scheme. Hammersmith and Fulham turned down a revised application two weeks ago, citing a failure to provide enough social housing and a poor provision of public open spaces.
Negotiations are also taking place between the developers and planners at Kensington and Chelsea over the future of the revised scheme.
Both councils rejected the original submission for the site in March, criticising the height of the proposed towers (AJ 7.3.02). In the more recent scheme, the architects reduced the number of storeys from 39 to 30 and increased the provision of social housing.
However, Hammersmith and Fulham planners are now demanding 65 per cent of the project's accommodation should be social housing. An insider at developer Hutchison Whampoa described this as 'incredible'. 'Every time we try to talk about this scheme, Hammersmith's planners move the goalposts, increasing their Section 106 demands, ' the insider said. 'Our backers, who are from Hong Kong, do not understand the way the scheme is being handled and are very frustrated.
There is only one way to describe the current state ofLots Road and that is disarray.We simply do not know where we stand.'
Hammersmith and Fulham's planning department, the insider said, had been far from constructive. 'They do not even seem to want to talk to us, ' he added.
Hammersmith and Fulham planning officer Paul Entwhistle said the developers had not met their criteria. 'We are not interested until they start paying attention to our planning criteria, ' he said. 'It may seem a lot to demand but there is a desperate need for social housing in this borough.'
Kensington and Chelsea case officer John Thorne said: 'We have a minimum planning demand of 33 per cent and the scheme's backers have to ensure that they meet this too.'