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Sunday, 25 August

A Funny Thing Happened To The Forum

An artist's impression of the new Kensington Forum
The existing Kensington Forum

Queensgate Investments and Rockwell have been given the green light to knock down the Kensington Forum and turn it in to a new hotel, serviced apartment and conference scheme.

Designed by architects SimpsonHaugh, the proposals will replace the existing 27 floors, 906 room hotel, recognised as a local eyesore, with a development providing restaurants, bars, health spa and conference facilities.

London Mayor Sidiq Khan had delegated the planning permission decision to the Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills back in late April only to take the decision back out of the Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills' hands.

Kensington Forum has got the nod by Mayor Khan because it promises substantial public benefits for both the local and wider community - it will create more than 800 employment opportunities and support these with £1.4 million of training initiatives.

The project will also accommodate 62 Social Rented homes, worth £90 million to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The original planning application allowed for one-third of this number.

Alongside the 749 room hotel will be a new, publicly accessible 2,700sq.m garden square which will be the only publicly accessible green space within 1km of the site. A further £2.8 million will be put towards public realm improvements to the area around Gloucester Road tube station.

the planning application reads: 'Comprehensive redevelopment and erection of a part 30, part 22 and part 7 storey building comprising hotel bedrooms and serviced apartments (Class C1) with ancillary bar, restaurants, conferencing and dining areas, leisure facilities and back of house areas; residential accommodation (Class C3); with associated basement, energy centre, plant, car parking, cycle parking, refuse stores, servicing areas; associated highway works and creation of new publicly accessible open space with associated hard and soft landscaping.

 

Relief

Jason Kow, Chief Executive of Queensgate Investments, who own the Kensington Forum said: “Queensgate Investments is relieved that the Mayor has resolved to grant this opportunity to create one of London’s largest hotel and service apartment schemes, whilst also delivering for the needs of the local community and Londoners alike."

Donal Mulryan, Founder of Rockwell, added: “Kensington Forum is an ambitious scheme that delivers an amount of genuinely affordable homes, meaningful employment opportunities, green space and public realm.”

Picture: An artist's impression of the new Kensington Forum and an image of the current 'eyesore'.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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