Mayor criticises council which has twice rejected attempts to replace landmark

Notting Hill Tower

Proposed Notting Hill tower development

Plans to demolish a landmark building in west London and replace it with an even taller tower have been called in by the mayor of London.

Kensington & Chelsea council rejected a proposal by Urban Sense Consultant Architects to replace 12-storey Newcombe House at Notting Hill Gate with an 18-storey block of flats over concerns the height and massing were out of keeping with the area.

Now Sadiq Khan has called in the council’s decision citing the council’s “consistent failure to meet targets for new and affordable homes”. He claimed only 17 “affordable” homes were approved by the council in 2016-17.

He has pledged to “seek to boost” the amount of affordable housing in the proposals which also include a step-free entrance to Notting Hill Gate Tube station, a new GP surgery and office and commercial space in six buildings.

Khan’s decision brings fresh hope for the scheme.

The council rejected the current plan in January but had already sent the architect back to the drawing board once before because it objected to the lack of on-site affordable housing and the design quality of the tower.

A planning inspector subsequently upheld the refusal, but only on the grounds of the loss of affordable housing.

The current application will now be examined by City Hall planners before a public hearing later in the year when interested parties will be able to speak for and against the development before the mayor makes his decision.

Newcombe House, covered in netting, at Notting Hill Gate

Newcombe House, covered in netting, at Notting Hill Gate

Khan said: “Having considered all evidence available to me, I have decided to take over this application and subject it to further scrutiny.

“The number of homes in this development won’t reverse the chronic under-delivery of new and affordable housing in the borough, but I’m calling this application in to determine if those homes it could deliver and the other public benefits outweigh the reasons the council gave for refusal.

“I have also asked my planners to work with the applicant to see if more genuinely affordable homes can be delivered.”

Newcombe House, the site’s main block, was designed by Cotton, Ballard & Blow in the late 1950s.