The meeting due to be held tomorrow evening to decide on approving a redevelopment of the land around South Kensington tube station has been deferred until the autumn.
The planning committee report, which was published last week, recommended the committee grant approval for the scheme – nevertheless, some issues were raised concerning the designs and the joint venture between TfL and Native Land say that they want to take the opportunity to address those issues.
The developer says that they will submit some further amendments, which will then again be subject to consultation, and that will push the planning approval meeting to sometime later this year, likely to be in the autumn.
The planning inspector’s report came down in favour of the redevelopment, on the grounds that the benefits outweigh the downsides, but highlighted areas of concern.
The main issue that the report highlighted was the use of contemporary architecture in an area that has a lot of historic buildings. The designs aren’t glaringly modernist, and the quality of the finish was complimented, but they have still raised concerns about the disconnect between the styles.
The proposed redevelopment of the Bullnose was also singled out for criticism, noting that while the current building is hardly appealing, its scale sits well next to the tube station, and the planned development needs work to fit in better.
The other change that is expected to include refining the height of the new buildings on Pelham Street. Pelham Street is currently housing on one side overlooking the deep cutting where the tube station is, but used to have buildings on both sides. The tube-station side, a low rise row of shops known as Station Buildings was cleared in the 1970s to make space for the Piccadilly line escalator, and the plans will see housing restored to that side.
A spokesperson for the Native Land and TfL joint venture said: “We welcome the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s (RBKC) planning officer’s recommendation that the borough’s planning committee approve our proposals for the South Kensington Tube station buildings and surrounding land. Nevertheless, we have asked that RBKC defer its planning committee so that we can work with the borough on some further refinements to the designs to address some of the remaining issues raised in the officer’s report.”
Although the upgrade of South Kensington tube station to get rid of the bottleneck staircase from the District/Circle lines and add step-free access is a separate development and not directly linked to this project, it is expected that the funding from the above-ground development will pay for the step-free access to the London Underground platforms.