The new Newcombe House scheme has now been approved by both the RBKC planning committee and the London mayor’s office, so this looks likely to be the view from Kensington Park Road in early 2027. Picture courtesy of Squire & Partners and Beltane.

New Newcombe House scheme approved by both the council and Sadiq Kahn

The Newcombe House development, one of the longest running development cases in London history, seems to finally move from application to implementation, because on Monday 29 April, the Mayor of London’s office announced that it accepted the RBKC planning committee’s 18 January decision to recommend approval. As all three parties (the developer, RBKC and the mayor’s office) are in agreement, it is unlikely that this will be contested in court.

This should mean that the developer’s current schedule is likely to hold: demolition of existing buildings (except the tower) during this summer and autumn, ground work during most of 2025, and superstructure, façade work and internal fit out during 2026. If that schedule holds, the buildings should be ready for new tenants in early 2027. The company doing all the work will be Midgard City, part of the JLR Group.

The development of the Newcombe House complex, at the corner of Notting Hill Gate and Kensington Church Street, is one of the longest running development cases in London history. The first application, from Brockton Capital, came in November 2015 (when Boris Johnson was the London mayor). This was followed by seven years of applications, refusals, approvals and three public hearings,  before Brockton Capital’s development was finally approved in June 2020, in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Then nothing happened for almost two years, but there were rumours that the developer (by then renamed Brockton Everlast) was trying to sell the site, and in March 2022 it was announced that it had been sold to office developer Beltane Asset Management and its American investment partner Angelo Gordon for a reported £100 million.

In June 2022, the new owners and their architects, Squire and Partners, had a first meeting with the local resident associations and announced that they planned a new development: instead of a mixed residential and office scheme with a new tower as its focal point (like the approved but abandoned scheme), they planned to retain but expand the existing office tower from 1958-60 and add a very large and wide office building along Kensington Church Street, with a food market on the ground floor. When they showed the drawings in October 2022, these were not well received, especially the very small “possible” GP surgery, which was nothing like the large GP surgery in the previous plans. And the viability of a large indoor food eatery was questioned, as several similar schemes around London have flopped.

So, in March 2023 they returned with a totally revised plan: a very different tower and no food market, but a much larger GP surgery in an eight floor mixed use building at the Kensington Church Street-Kensington Place corner. Four floors of GP surgery, with four floors of social housing above – the only housing in the otherwise office-only complex.

In June 2023, it was basically this plan that was submitted to the planning department, and on 18 January 2024, the planning committee unanimously decided to recommend approval. As it’s a major development, the London mayor could overrule it, but although it contains no attempts to help Notting Hill tube station with step-free access (which the previous plan did), the mayor’s office decide to approve it as is – just three days before the 2024 mayoral election.

As the approved plan is almost identical to the one we presented in March 2023, please see that article for more details. The complete application, consisting of more than 350 documents, can be accessed here. 

How much larger the new tower will appear to be is best shown with this before and after image. Just move the vertical tool sideways. The difference isn’t just that the new tower will be higher and much wider, but that it will also come much nearer Notting Hill Gate, i.e. closer to the camera. Pictures courtesy of Squire & Partners and Beltane.

First published 08/05/2024