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Squire and Partners set for Kensington consent 13 years after first application

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Squire and Partners looks likely to win approval for its rejigged design for a Kensington High Street cinema more than a decade after its first application for the plot

The practice, having submitted its application the previous year, was given permission for a scheme to redevelop the former Kensington Odeon in 2008. The 40-home project, which retained the façade of the historic cinema, did not include any neighbouring sites.

Seven years later, the practice returned with an alternative, larger mixed-use proposal for 63 homes, which incorporated a number of surrounding properties. The plans were recommended by officers for approval.

However councillors at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea rejected those plans following a campaign to retain the 1926 cinema building led by celebrities including film director Richard Curtis and actor Benedict Cumberbatch, and Prince Michael of Kent.

Squire and Partners went back in 2016 with revised plans and received permission for a development comprising buildings of between three and eight storeys, which retained a cinema and kept the façade from the original Kensington Odeon.

Now, the practice is expected to get permission for a revised version of that scheme, which provides more office and shop space and increases the number of homes to 106. 

Under designs submitted to the council in December, and recommended for approval at a planning committee next week, additional storeys are proposed on three buildings. The resulting development would have a total of 28,700m² space, including 590m² of shops, 730m² of offices and a six-screen cinema of just under 5,000m². 

Planning officers noted that the 35 affordable homes only amount to 24 per cent of habitable rooms (or 17 per cent of residential floor space), less than the 35 per cent required.

However, the officers added that the increase of 15 units, from the 20 promised under the 2016 planning consent, still represented an overall rise in affordable housing provision.

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