Developers challenge council’s decision to overrule planning officers’ recommendation to approve 

The team behind Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners’ rejected proposals to redevelop the area around South Kensington tube station have confirmed they are seeking to challenge the decision at a planning inquiry.

Members of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s planning committee went against officers’ recommendations when they refused RSHP’s proposals for 50 new apartments and new shops, restaurants and workspace in the tourist hotspot last year.

The scheme, created for joint-venture partners Native Land and Transport for London, would also have delivered improvements for South Kensington Station itself, including step-free access to the District and Circle Lines.


Source: RSHP

RSHP’s latest proposals for the Bullnose building, which is part of its proposed redevelopment of South Kensington station (August 2021 version)

But after a four-hour planning committee session in November, councillors voted unanimously to refuse the application, arguing that the public benefits offered by the scheme did not overcome the impacts of the height, massing and architectural design of some elements of the proposed development.

Last month the developers informed RBKC of their intention to appeal the South Ken decision and seek an inspector-led planning inquiry into the proposals. Their letter suggested six days would be required for the hearing.

A spokesperson for the Native Land and TfL joint venture this week confirmed the developers are pushing ahead with the challenge.

“We are appealing to the Planning Inspectorate because we remain committed to delivering our plans, which represent a once-in-a generation opportunity to revitalise South Kensington, by repairing and enhancing the station buildings and surrounding streets with world class architecture in an important civic city location,” they said.

“The development will complete the delivery of much-needed step-free access to the ticket hall, and District and Circle Line platforms, together with 50 new homes with 35% affordable housing, offices for small and medium sized enterprises, and shops for small and independent retailers.

“Our planning application is policy compliant and was recommended for approval by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s planning officer, who cited architecture of the highest quality.

“It attracted more than 700 letters of support from local organisations and the wider community, including the Natural History Museum, the V&A, the Science Museum and Imperial College.”

RSHP is the sixth practice to draw up redevelopment proposals for the area around South Kensington tube station in recent decades.

Scott, Brownrigg & Turner, Terry Farrell & Partners, Francis Machin, John McAslan & Partners and Buckley Gray Yeoman all created earlier proposals.