A planned development next to Notting Hill Gate tube station will see partial step-free access included in the project.
The site is an existing 1950s block, Newcombe House and a row of low rise buildings with a car park at the rear. The plans will see all of them removed and replaced with newer buildings and the car park turned into a public square. As part of the plans, step-free access will be provided to the southbound platform of the Circle and District Lines.
The housing development itself is controversial mainly due to the height of the replacement tower.
Although the development was refused planning permission by the local council, that was overruled by the Mayor of London in September 2018, and amended plans were approved last June by the housing secretary Robert Jenrick. In the final approval, Jenrick said he agreed with the inspector’s conclusion that “the impact of the scheme on listed buildings, conservation areas and local heritage was not significant enough to outweigh the benefits of redeveloping the current eyesore site”.
The step-free access will require two lifts, one from the street to the ticket hall which will be next to the existing stairs entrance, and then along a corridor to another lift down to the southbound platform of the Circle/District line, sitting next to the existing stairs to the Central line.
For the agreement to provide step-free access, the route from the ticket hall level to the Circle and District Lines would pass through the basement of the proposed development, so step-free access can only be delivered as part of the site’s redevelopment.
Although it won’t provide full step-free access to all platforms, the unique opportunity to deliver partial access was accepted as there won’t be a chance to redevelop the site again for many decades to come, and they can add more lifts to the other platforms later on.
According to TfL, the step-free access is “anticipated to be delivered at no capital cost to TfL.”
In addition, the scheme would provide stair-free access to the Central Line, as the street level lift to the ticket hall connects with escalators that then link to the Central line.
The Mayor’s report noted that the addition of the lift to the southbound platform as part of the developer’s contributions would be able to support arguments for step-free access to the northbound platform as part of any future redevelopment of the next-door David Game House.
Once the legal papers are signed, technically, London Underground will be leasing the basement walkway from the developer, under a 999-year lease with a peppercorn rent.