Up, up and away for West Kensington?

Hold onto your hats, folks! If you’ve only just returned from holiday – or still reeling from a long summer of kids, kids and more kids – you may have missed one of the biggest bits of news in a long time for the local area, which is that the redevelopment plan for West Kensington and Earl’s Court is gaining momentum.


After a contentious H&F Council meeting last Wednesday night, the council granted an outline planning application to what they call an £8bn scheme from developer EC Properties to build four high streets and a village on 57 acres of land owned separately by H&F Council, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and Transport for London.


To give you some idea of the size of the scheme, the project is probably bigger than the Olympics build in Stratford. It’s big. And it will also be tall. While the council is involved in a tit-for-tat row with the residents of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates, it is also worth noting some of the positives of the plan, which the council says will include:


“Creating up to 7,583 new homes, of which 760 will be replacement estate homes and 740 will be additional intermediate affordable homes. It will also include new shops, offices, leisure facilities, public open space, a new school, new transport links, healthcare centre and community centre. It will also create up to 9,500 new permanent jobs and 1,500-2,000 jobs per year in construction, based on an approximate total of 36,000 construction jobs over an estimated development period of 20 years.”


Like I said, the plan is big – so big that the ramifications of the scheme seem impossible to understand right now. The council will receive about £54m to reinvest in the area after the development is completed – that is, if a planning application is eventually approved next year. But one thing is for sure, if the scheme goes ahead we may be living in a very different looking borough with some property prices that may go up as fast as the skyscrapers.