The Kensington Society held a recent meeting to discuss the proposed Lancer Square development. It's worth reading the reactions and comments expressed at the meeting.
There is just until Friday to email
There is just until Friday to email
firstname.lastname@example.org ref PP/13/05341 - and in your own words and with your own observations, object to this wholly unnecessary development funded by Arab and Chinese money
Lancer Square Redevelopment
1. Old Court Place Access
A considerable amount of discussion took place concerning the main access route to the scheme which is to be via Old Court Place. All the local residents who know the street extremely well felt the street was too narrow (to be further narrowed by the introduction of a pavement in front of the affordable residential units) to accommodate the proposed two way additional residential traffic for the 14 affordable houses and the 37 residential units and their attendant service support vehicles, the on-site underground car parking as well as the vehicles servicing the offices and the retail element. The street is also currently often congested with large delivery lorries servicing the high street retail units. Additionally the fire engines needed constant and uninterrupted access which it was felt would be jeopardised by the proposed two way system. Currently there were seldom any cars travelling in the direction of the high street. The problems of creating additional traffic entering Kensington Church Street (left turn only) and Kensington High Street were pointed out. Whilst the architect said that ttp (the transport consultants) felt it would work and their report was on the website, the residents did not accept this. It was pointed out that the traffic movement slide was not accurate eg it did not show there was a left turn only at the Kensington Church Street junction and it did not appear to show that cars leaving the car lift bay were entering the one way section and could not, it seems, in fact turn right.
2. Inner Central Road Pedestrian Safety
Residents felt the shared central road (pedestrians/cars/delivery/service vehicles) which runs through the centre of the development was unsafe especially for families with children (which represented a large proportion of users in the area ) particularly as there was to be no pavement with only a change in surface paving to indicate the road. They pointed out that currently the public spaces were safe and traffic free and family friendly which would no longer be the case.
3. Building on the Southern Piazza/Pedestrian Highway
Building on the southern piazza (the area opposite Café Rouge/Costas), deemed to be part of the highway was opposed as it presented good public sunlit space and the proposal did not provide a comparable alternative route. The removal of the tree in this area was regretted as it was pointed out the on-site replacement trees would be height constrained given the inadequate soil depth.
4. Building on the York House Place Footway
The meeting felt very strongly that extending the building line to the north and as a result narrowing the first approximately 24m of public footway on York House Place was totally unacceptable as it was the main heavily used western pedestrian access route to Kensington Palace/Gardens and on a straight line from the pedestrian crossing. The building line should not be advanced onto or indeed nearer any section of this pedestrian footway as any encroachment would feel oppressive particularly given the proposed substantial additional height on this elevation. This was an opportunity to improve the footpath rather than narrow it.
5. Health Club and Office Access via York House Place Footway
It was felt that the York House pedestrian footway was inappropriate as the main entry point for the health club and as an access point for the offices which would open directly onto this footway.
6. Reduction of Public Space Area and the Inner Garden
The significant reduction of the public realm was strongly opposed. The current plaza is a rare example of a piazza style open space (781 m2) within RBKC and as such is used frequently by both residents and visitors who use the cafes and restaurants that line this space. The proposals will remove this space and replace it with a formal garden (417 m2) which is of different character and use and does not facilitate community interaction as the current space does. It was noted that the current plans do not contain dedicated amenity space for 0-5 year old play to the compliant m2 as set out by the London Housing Guide. The garden does not also comply with SBD regulations for child play and as such it will have railing or similar at 2.2M high around its perimeter. It was also noted that the current TPO’d trees that are to be removed as part of these proposals are to be located in this space. Due to the small garden being enclosed between two large buildings the trees will not be able to achieve the same size as those being removed. A small garden surrounded by railing is not an adequate replacement for a large and permeable plaza and community space.
8. Increase in Building Height and Mass
The residents were unhappy with the additional height and the massing effect of the proposed building line and the oppressive effect on the surroundings. On the west façade this had been taken to almost the highest point of the pinnacle. The existing development was lower to the north and the south (and the southern piazza was completely open) which reduced the impact of the height and massing and allowed more sunlight into the centre and rear buildings but this would not be the case with the straight lines of the scheme which was minimally set back at the north and south facades.
9. Subterranean Developments
The meeting was unhappy that the developers were proposing to create two subterranean levels – at present only the retail element had a basement.
It was not felt that comparable office space (in terms of square footage) was being provided as such a large proportion was in the basement lit by a series of light-wells (the light pollution effect on the light wells facing 3a Palace Green was pointed out).
10. Loss of Retail Space
The material loss of genuine retail space (particularly the café amenities) was also regretted. It was not correct to include (as the slide had shown) the gym area within the retail calculations as, unlike a retail shop, it would not be freely open to the public.