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London Mayor approves twice-rejected Notting Hill tower

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Sadiq Khan has approved a controversial tower in Notting Hill designed by Urban Sense Consultant Architects

The mayor of London gave the green light to the Newcombe House redevelopment – which was twice turned down by councillors at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Khan called in the proposals earlier this year and secured an increase from 46 to 55 homes, of which 23 will now be affordable, rather than the nine under the previous proposal.

The mayor’s office said the local authority had ‘consistently failed to meet targets for new and affordable homes’ and had not granted consent for a single affordable home last year.

As well as housing, the development will include a medical centre, step-free access to the nearby Notting Hill Gate Tube station and a public square with pedestrian and cycle access.

Khan said: ‘Having considering all the evidence available to me – and following hard work by my planning team to increase the level of affordable housing – I have decided to grant permission for this development.

‘London’s housing crisis won’t be solved overnight – but I hope this will send a clear message that I expect developments to include more genuinely affordable housing and other benefits for local people.’

Backed by developer Notting Hill Gate KCS, the scheme turned down by the council at the start of this year would have provided 2,871m² of retail space, 4,390m² of office space, a GPs’ surgery and 46 homes. 

Kensington and Chelsea council refused the application because of the height of the proposed buildings in relation to their surroundings. A previous attempt had failed at both committee stage and appeal.

Will Pascall, lead member for streets, planning and transport at the council, said: ’The mayor is not listening to Londoners and has taken decision-making away from local residents on local issues. This development is simply too tall and unsuited to the needs of the local area.’

Skyline campaigner Barbara Weiss described the mayor’s decision to approve the scheme as ‘terribly disappointing’.

She said: ‘This is not only a big mistake for London, but also a missed opportunity – as another really terribly designed building hits central London’s skyline.’

Funder Brockton Capital said it was ’pleased the mayor agreed with the inspector’s endorsement of the quality of the proposals’.

Urban Sense has been contacted for comment.

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