£1 billion Kensington hotel and housing complex scrapped after Anne Robinson leads local objections

Jonathan PrynnThu, 25 March 2021, 6:40 am

 (Rockwell )
(Rockwell )

Plans for a £1 billion hotel and housing complex in Kensington opposed by hundreds of locals including Weakest Link presenter Anne Robinson have been scrapped.

The property company behind the proposed scheme at the site of the current Kensington Forum Hotel on Cromwell Road said it has withdrawn its planning application.

The company, Queensgate Investments, did not give a reason for the change of heart but it comes after four years of planning wrangles .

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick “called in” the scheme at the start of the year for a planning enquiry after it was approved by Sadiq Khan in October last year. The enquiry was due to start in the Spring.

The scheme would see the 29 storey brutalist Holiday Inn designed by Centrepoint architect Richard Seifert replaced by two towers of 30 and 22 floors, and a seven storey block.

The complex would have contained a 749 room hotel, 340 serviced apartments and 62 affordable homes.

The application was refused by Kensington & Chelsea council, and twice approved by the mayor – after his first all clear was successfully challenged by the council.

Michael Bach, chair of the planning committee at the Kensington Society, said: “Residents are hugely relieved that the application has been withdrawn and we sincerely hope that this will mark a watershed for projects with tall buildings in sensitive areas which are contrary to policy in the new London Plan.”

In a letter to the planning inspectorate, seen by Housing Today magazine and written by law firm Dentons on behalf of Queensgate, the firm said it had “decided to withdraw the application” and that the inspectorate should “please therefore treat the application as withdrawn”.

Patrick O’Connell, head of hotels at Queensgate Investments, said he could “confirm that the planning application has been withdrawn” but also declined to give any reasons for the decision.

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