The Kensington Society blog

Public meeting on 13 June about TfL’s cycle “highway” plan

The Kensington Society will be hosting a large public meeting in Kensington Town Hall's Great Hall at 6.30pm on Thursday 13 June, about Transport for London's plan to create a dual bicycle lane along the south side of Notting Hill Gate and Holland Park Avenue. Staff from TfL will be present to answer questions and listen to residents' concerns.

Update: Third public hearing about Newcombe House

Following housing secretary James Brokenshire's decision to call in the application for the third version of Newcombe House scheme on 14 March, the Planning Inspectorate has now announced that there will be a third public hearing about the planned development in Notting Hill Gate on 5-14 November 2019.

Major traffic changes to Notting Hill Gate and Holland Park Avenue

Transport for London (TfL) plans to totally refurbish Holland Park Avenue/Notting Hill Gate between the Holland Park Roundabout and Kensington Gardens, as part of a major plan to improve cycling, air quality and pedestrian road crossings between Notting Hill Gate and Imperial College on Wood Lane. The plans were published on 1 May, and there is an ongoing online public consultation until 16 June.

Sadiq Khan will decide the Kensington Forum plan

On 5 November, London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced that he would call in the Kensington Forum Hotel (i.e. Holiday Inn on Cromwell Road) application after the RBKC planning committee had decided to refuse it on 27 September. A public hearing, followed by Khan's decision, is expected in the beginning of 2019.

Why we have backed Newcombe House

Ever since the first Newcombe House application in 2015, the Kensington Society and the Ladbroke Association have supported the project, in spite of the height. At the public hearing in City Hall on Tuesday 18 September, Peter Mishcon spoke on behalf of the two organisations and explained why.

The Commons' Grenfell hearings focus on the future

While the large Grenfell Tower Inquiry is trying to find out exactly what happened during the fire, the House of Commons' select committee for housing, communities and local government is running a parallell inquiry, focussed of finding ways to prevent another high-rise fire and improve relations between council's and their tenants. Last week the committee met Grenfell tenants, one of them was Tomassina Hessel (picture).

Grenfell one year later

One year after the Grenfell fire new chocking revelations about the shoddy refurbishment work coincided with the local and national commemorations for the 72 who lost their life. And it was revealed that only 82 of the 209 dispossessed households have moved to their new permanent homes, while 116 are waiting for their chosen homes to be made habitable.

What will happen to Europe’s largest roof garden?

What will happen to the unique roof garden on top of the Derry & Toms building on Kensington High Street? It was once the largest in the world and is still the largest single roof garden in Europe. It was suddenly closed in the beginning of January and there are rumours that the freeholder has instructed an estate agent to try to find a new leaseholder after Virgin, but nobody knows for sure.

LGA demands planning permission for all phone boxes

Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, has urged the government to scrap the permitted development right which enables phone companies to install telephone boxes without planning permission, as the new "boxes" are nothing but advertisement panels making use of an old law to circumvent planning control. This as BT has begun replacing 750 of their traditional phone boxes in London with a 3 metre high two-sided advertisement tower, the InLink.

Half of the households still in hotels

On Thursday, a televised Grenfell Tower national memorial service will be held in St Paul's Cathedral.
Six months after the Grenfell Tower fire, only 45 of the 208 households have moved into new permanent homes. Of the remaining, more than 100 are still living in hotels.

Critical report from Hammersmith & Fulham

On 6 December, Hammersmith & Fulham council published a report about H&Fs response to the Grenfell Tower disaster and RBKC’s lack of interaction with H&F immediately after the disaster. It is in part a very critical report.

The final death toll

On 16 November, five months after the devastating Grenfell Tower fire, the Metropolitan Police announced that they had recovered the last of the bodies and that the final death toll was 71: seventy who died in the fire and one stillborn baby whose mother had inhaled large doses of cyanide laced smoke during the escape.