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KPF’s Chelsea Police Station replacement approved at second attempt

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Councillors have approved Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates’ (KPF) revised proposals to demolish and replace the former 1930s Chelsea Police Station with housing

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea granted consent to the practice’s plans for 2 Lucan Place more than a year after rejecting an earlier version of the scheme.

The council gave six reasons for turning down the initial proposals in October 2018, including loss of social and community space, lack of affordable housing in the scheme and living conditions for occupants.

Revised plans were submitted last summer, keeping the scheme at 10 storeys but reducing the number of homes by one to 31 and increasing the non-housing space.

Social space on the ground and lower-ground floors was designed to suit nursery provider Kido and social enterprise Mom’s Belief.

Massing was adjusted with bigger setbacks at upper levels to improve daylight access and to mitigate direct overlooking to neighbouring properties. Building edges were chamfered with main living room windows at 45 degrees from facing façades. Window sizes were increased to allow more daylight to all units.

Planning officers told councillors that, although outlook and daylight levels on the lower north-facing units was ‘not ideal’, the scheme was ’difficult to resolve any other way’.

They added: ’The proposed building would still result in a reduction in the outlook and levels of daylight enjoyed by neighbouring residential properties. However, the overall impact when compared with the previous application has been significantly reduced.

’While the proposal would still result in a degree of harm to the living conditions of the surrounding residential properties, it is now, on balance, acceptable’.

The site, halfway between Sloane Square and South Kensington Underground Stations in south-west London, was used as a police station for about 80 years to 2014 when it became vacant.

KPF design principal John Bushell said: ‘The design of 2 Lucan Place has evolved in close collaboration with our client, Gulf Islamic Investment, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

’It demonstrates an holistic approach to mixed-use development in a dense urban location. At the heart of the scheme, social and community use for young children and their families will benefit the local community.’

Justification for demolition: extract from KPF’s design and access statement

The floor-to-floor height is 3.3m on typical floors, with a slightly lower 3.1m in the north-west wing on first floor and third floor attic. Our starting point was to see if this building could be retained. However, owing to the original floor space requirements, the building has a narrow depth and limited circulation space.

In addition, some of the building features related to the specific police station use – duplication of stairs, long egress corridors, detention cells with no daylight, etc – make it unsuited for conversion or adaptation for other uses.

Lucan place site

Lucan place site

 

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