Frogmore’s Notting Hill Gate plans approved
In mid June 2015, real estate investment fund manager Frogmore bought the remaining eight buildings in Land Securities’ and Delance’s huge Notting Hill Estate, which the William Pears Group and LaSalle Investment Management bought in 2010 and began selling off in chunks already the following year.
In September 2017, Frogmore put in three planning applications for the refurbishment of the five office and retail buildings in the purchase, and on 8 November the council’s planning committee approved all three, but added conditions about public realm contributions totalling £120,000.
The three project sites are Astley House (with HSBC, Subway and Barclays among the tenants) and David Game House (with tenants Crispins, Calder Pharmacy, Eat, Pret a Manger and David Game College) on the southern side of Notting Hill Gate, and the three office and retail buildings on either side of Campden Hill Towers: United House (where Jamie Oliver’s Recipease used to be and Boots still is on the ground floor), 100-106 Notting Hill Gate (the low building which has Itsu, 02 and Tylers on the ground floor), and 114-120 Notting Hill Gate (the low building which has Tesco on the ground floor).
The designs differ, but all three applications are similar in concept: refurbishment inside and out above the ground floor, and one additional office floor on top. In the case of United House, two additional floors.
The plan is that all the ground floor tenants will be able to remain while the work is being done. The refurbishments will not introduce any residential units in the buildings.
Although most people welcome a comparatively quick refurbishment of these tired-looking 1960’s buildings – rather than total rebuilds, which would mean several years of building works and a large loss of shops in the meantime – the additional floors are not as welcome. Residential neighbours objected to all three applications, as they feel that the additional floors – which in addition will have very large air conditioning units on top – will impede on their views, mean loss of sunlight, and may cause overlooking.
Kensington Society agreed with much of the criticism. While the additional floors may be needed to make the refurbishments economically viable, they could have been made less obtrusive for the neighbours by having more gradual designs at the back (where the neighbours live), slightly less height, and by incorporating the air conditioning units in the top floors instead of putting them on top. Kensington Society also questioned why there were no public realm contributions, something the planning committee obviously agreed with.
The work on David Game House is estimated to take 18 months and start in late 2016 or early 2017, the refurbishment of the three buildings around Campden Hill Towers is estimated to start about the same time but take three months longer, while the work on Astley House is estimated to start in the summer of 2019 and also take 18 months.
For those wanting to see more of the plans, these links lead to the three applications:
David Game House (47-69 Notting Hill Gate. application PP/16/05236)
Astley House (15-35 Notting Hill Gate, application PP/16/05212)
United House etc. (92-120 Notting Hill Gate, application PP/16/05299)