Newcombe House, Notting Hill Gate
A planning application has now been submitted for the regeneration of the Newcombe House site following its acquisition in 2022 by joint partners Beltane and Angelo Gordon.
This website was launched to provide key information and help local residents, businesses and other interest groups have their say. Following ten months of applicant-led local consultation, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will now carry out its own statutory consultation.
To assist anyone interested in the finalised application we have made planning submission documents available for download. The full suite of documents is available in the planning application section of the council's website. The application reference number is PP/23/03534.
Where is Newcombe House and what are its boundaries?
As can be seen in the location map, the site is roughly rectangular in shape and bounded by Notting Hill Gate to the north, Kensington Church Street to the east, Kensington Place to the south and the District and Circle Underground line and its associated electricity substation to the west.
The site currently comprises a series of buildings plus a 12-storey tower, Newcombe House. The buildings have an outdated 1960s town centre design and have become degraded over time.
Newcombe House itself contains offices which are now no longer occupied by tenants. Some ground floor shops remain including Waterstones on Notting Hill Gate and a few more along Kensington Church Street. The building on the corner of Kensington Church Street and Kensington Place (known as Royston Court) comprises 20 vacant residential units previously used as bedsit accommodation for rough sleepers.
The site ownership also includes the top end of Uxbridge Street along with a large surface car park to the rear which runs alongside the underground line.
Recognised by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea as an eyesore and key to the wider regeneration of Notting Hill Gate, the site suffers from poor pedestrian connections, inadequate access for people with disabilities and unattractive public realm. The ground floor spaces under Newcombe House are known to attract anti-social behaviour.
More positively, its location adjacent to Notting Hill Gate London Underground Station and nearby multiple bus routes, means that the site has an excellent public transport accessibility level (PTAL 6b - the highest possible level).
What is the current planning status of the site?
The site benefits from a valid planning permission which was obtained by the previous owners in June 2020 following a public inquiry and a decision by the Secretary of State. Beltane and Angelo Gordon were not involved in any of the planning applications concerned.
You can see the computer-generated images of what is currently approved at the site by clicking on the images.
In summary, the extant planning permission allows for:
- The demolition of all the buildings at the site;
- The creation of six new buildings including a tower of up to 18 storeys on the corner of Notting Hill Gate and Kensington Church Street with the remaining buildings ranging in height from 3, 4, 5 and 7 storeys;
- 55 new residential apartments;
- Office and retail space;
- Provision for a new health centre; and
- A public square with level access from Notting Hill Gate.
A new vision for the site
Since acquiring the site, the new owners have appointed leading architects Squire and Partners to completely re-think the approach for its regeneration.
The key element of the new approach is to bring forward a proposal which is office-led rather than residential-led.
Although the demand for offices was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the very latest research (November 2022) by Central London Forward, a partnership of Councils including Kensington and Chelsea, has revealed that Central London quarterly office take up has now returned to the pre-pandemic average.
According to the research, the demand is specific – occupiers want flexible, sustainable, high quality spaces that accommodate a wide range of working tasks.
Beltane have an excellent track record in bringing forward exactly the type of high quality, central London office developments that are currently in demand and have a number of properties under construction. All their schemes to date have been built speculatively, that is without a lease agreed. Therefore, Beltane must be confident in each scheme they invest in. Their specialist knowledge and intimate understanding of the central London office market leads them to a high level of confidence that Notting Hill Gate will prove a successful location for an office-led development.
You can see diverse examples of Beltane’s projects by visiting their website.
Following extensive consultation during the latter half of 2022 and early 2023, the initial proposals have been revised and significant changes made which are summarised below in the description of the three key elements of the emerging proposals.
Key element 1: Retention of Newcombe House tower
The existing Newcombe House tower would be retained and completely refurbished to provide office accommodation. The latest revisions (March 2023) do not change the proposed height - an additional three-storeys to make it 15-storeys, some three-storeys lower than the permitted scheme.
One of the consistent themes in community feedback on the initial proposals presented in the last quarter of 2022 was a desire to see an ‘open-air’ space on the Notting Hill Gate frontage around the retained ‘Waterstones tree’ which would allow it to thrive. This has resulted in the complete removal of the previously proposed seven-storey frontage building and its undercroft. This now results in a ‘drawn back’ and more elegant tower design with a new look vertical expression as shown in the new visual in the image carousel of this website.
The revision to the tower is a fundamental change and the most significant which has resulted in response to the consultation that has taken place to date.
Key element 2: Ground floor public space and covered street
With the very latest (March 2023) changes to the tower, the public square on Notting Hill Gate will now be 71% open to the sky whilst before it was only 22%. Greater opportunity to green the square is also now possible, something which many people told us they favoured during the first stage of public consultation. There is also a wider and better connection to Uxbridge Street.
A lot of feedback was received from the local community about the practicalities and attractiveness of the proposed internal covered retail street which formed part of the initial proposals. This was accessed from Notting Hill Gate under the tower and via a further access on Kensington Church Street. As a result of comments received on this, it has been decided to remove this from the latest proposals. This in turn allows the building footprint to be drawn back a further 3m from the boundary with the underground line and the nearest properties on Jameson Street. It also provides space for a new covered colonnade stretching along Kensington Church Street, offering more space for pedestrians at street level, something many local people told us they would like to see included. The proposed arches were broadly supported in the feedback received and these are retained in the proposed colonnade.
Key element 3: Kensington Church Street and the existing Newcombe House surface car park
This is the entirely new development part of the proposals. The proposed buildings here extend southwards along Kensington Church Street and on the existing surface level car park. There is a ‘tiered’ approach to the building on the car park and the latest changes mean that this steps back some 21 to 27m from the nearest properties on the other side of the underground line in Jameson Street. This is wider than adjacent streets and similar to the building to building width of Kensington Church Street
The proposed uses in the latest (March 2023) proposal remain retail at ground level the length of the new colonnade with offices above.
The proposed building heights along Kensington Church Street are unchanged at primarily six-storeys until the corner with Kensington Place where an eight-storey building is currently indicated. The design of the six storey element has evolved in response to feedback with the introduction of less regularity in window apertures and a variations in the roof parapet to provide a less repetitive façade. There was significant community feedback received about housing a new doctor’s surgery in the eight-storey building and further detailed discussions have taken place with the NHS to agree requirements. There was broad community support for the inclusion of new high quality affordable homes in this building as well.
How to find out more and have your say
Beltane and Angelo Gordon carried out extensive pre-application dialogue on their emerging proposals and positively invited feedback from the local community to help inform the final content of the intended planning application.
Statutory consultation will now be undertaken by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Any queries or representatives should be directed to the council's planning department at email@example.com and the full planning submission maybe viewed on the council's website. The reference number for the planning application is PP/23/03534.
Although the pre-application consultation has now closed with the submission of the planning application, please do get in touch if you would like further information on any aspects of the proposals.
Indicative timeline (subject to change)
Here’s our current best guess at the timeline for the development. It is subject to change as there may be issues that arise during any of the stages below that might delay the programme.
June 2022 to 1st Quarter 2023
- pre-application community involvement ensuring that local people, organisations and businesses are informed about the emerging plans and have varied opportunities to give their feedback either in person or virtually.
Planning application submission
- Q2 2023
Statutory consultation by Council begins
- Q2 2023
- Q3/4 2023
Start on site
- Q1 2024
Completion of development
- Q1 2026
Key planning application documents
Click here to download documents and information:
- Design & Access Statement
- Planning Statement
- Transportation Assessment (Part 1)
- Transportation Assessment (Part 2)
- Daylight & Sunlight Report
- Contextual Daylight & Sunlight Study
- Construction Management Plan
- Demolition Traffic Management Plan
- Townscape & Visual Impact Assessment
- Statement of Community Involvement
Key consultation documents & downloads
Click here to download documents and information:
- Presentation to the RBKC Development Forum (September 2022)
- Community newsletter (October 2022)
- Boards shown at public exhibition (October 2022)
- Watch the webinar on the Demolition Transport Management Plan - existing planning permission (January 2023)
- Community newsletter (March 2023)
- Watch the webinar on the revised proposals (March 2023)
- Boards shown at public exhibition (March 2023)
- Presentation to the RBKC Development Forum (March 2023)
Computer-generated image of permitted proposal from Notting Hill Gate
Computer-generated image of permitted proposal from Kensington Church Street
If you have any questions or would like help accessing information about, or taking part in this consultation please get in touch with us by:
- Calling us on: 0800 246 5890 (free to call)
- Emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you require any of the documents and information relating to this consultation in an alternative format, please contact us.