Mayor approves 100% social housing scheme in Kensington

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has approved plans to redevelop Kensington Forum Hotel to deliver 62 affordable homes

The application to redevelop the Kensington Forum Hotel will deliver 62 new homes, all of which will be available at social rent levels for Londoners on low incomes.

The proposals were rejected by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in September 2018, before Khan assumed responsibility for the application – known as ‘calling-in’ – in order to subject it to further scrutiny in November.

Following the Mayor’s intervention, the developer agreed to increase the number of homes to 62 and make all of them affordable. It had previously only proposed for 20 of the original 46 homes to be affordable. The Kensington Forum Hotel scheme also includes a 749-bedroom hotel and 340 serviced apartments.

Kensington and Chelsea has consistently failed to meet the Mayor’s housing targets in recent years, and the Mayor has pushed his planning powers to their limits in order to deliver more affordable homes in the borough.

In April, the Mayor refused permission for the redevelopment of Heythrop College in Kensington Square – which included just 3.3% affordable housing – after the council had approved it.

Last September, Khan gave permission for Newcombe House in Notting Hill, having called it in following the council’s decision to refuse the application. After the Mayor’s intervention, the level of affordable housing was increased from 17% to 35%.

In 2017, the council gave planning permission for zero affordable homes. In the 12 months to April 2018, there were just 89 new affordable homes completed in the borough.

Khan, said: “I welcome the developer committing to provide 100% social housing in this scheme – in a borough that has consistently failed to meet its housing targets.

“I’m clear that I will do everything in my power to increase the delivery of new social rented and other genuinely affordable homes across the capital.

“These plans also include hundreds of new hotel rooms, which is critical to maintaining the capital’s status as a leading global tourist destination. It’s vital we give all visitors the best possible experience throughout their stay in London.

“As such, having considered all the evidence available to me, I have decided to approve this application.”

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