The Conservative-run Council had received a staggering 345 objections to current site developers The Earls Court Partnership Ltd’s application, a contentious 9-storey block at 344-350 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 9LU. Despite such overwhelming opposition to the scheme (with only 7 comments in its favour), the Committee inexplicably saw fit to approve a portal building whose height, scale, and massing is feared will be used as a benchmark to justify increased heights within the site area, and act as a precedent elsewhere in the borough.
Given that we are living in a time of climate emergency, the fact that the new building will not be built as carbon neutral is shameful.
Objections received by the Council included those made on the grounds of height, density and massing; segregation of renters inside the buildings; concern over the affordable housing; homes for rent only; no child density study provided by the developer; lack of amenity and green space for the new residents, and negative impact on historic, architecturally important sites: Grade I listed Brompton Cemetery directly opposite the site, Grade II listed West Brompton Station, and three Conservation Areas: Brompton Cemetery, Philbeach and Seddlescombe Road.
Objections from all three local Earl’s Court Ward councillors – Cllr. Adourian (Con), Cllr. Spalding (Con) and Cllr. Wade (Lib Dem) - were also ignored.
There is growing anger at the Council's decision. Said local resident Keith Barker-Main, "This is the latest example in a long list of planning approvals by RBKC that puts speculative developers' profits first, ignoring the needs, aspirations and concerns of those residents and local businesses RBKC purportedly represents."
Linda Wade, Chair of ECAAG, who strongly objected at the committee meeting in her capacity as an Earl’s Court Ward Councillor said:
“Granting approval to this application shows a lack of vision by the applicant and the Council. We are operating in a totally new environment; post-COVID aspirations and demands are different. The way in which people live and work in the future will require a fresh approach. This building in its height, scale and massing is incongruous to local streets and it is not of human scale and must be seen as a snapshot for what ECP Ltd and its delivery vehicle ECDC envisions for the future of the development area."
This application should not be seen in isolation. This is not a standalone building; rather it should have been viewed in the context of the revised Masterplan to assess its impact and connectivity. This was an opportunity to create something significant. That opportunity has been missed.”
Objectors included Save Britain’s Heritage, The Royal Parks, The Kensington Society, The Fulham Society, The Friends of Brompton Cemetery, The Gardens Trust, The London Parks & Gardens Trust, The Earl’s Court Society, Philbeach Residents’ Association, Edwardes Square Scarsdale and Abingdon Association, Cornwall Mews South (West Side) RA, Earl’s Court Village Residents Association, The Boltons Association and Earl’s Court Gardens & Morton Mews Residents’ Association.
All Conservative Councillors on the Major Planning Development Committee - Husband, Idris, Bennett and O'Connor voted for the redevelopment and the sole Labour Councillor, Bakhtiar, voted against.
The pictures show "a before and after" artist's impression of what the building will look like from Brompton Cemetery.