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11 July 2012
World famous Portobello Road is to be extended northwards as part of a major regeneration scheme in North Kensington.The extension is a key element in the redevelopment of the Wornington Green estate, which is being entirely rebuilt to double the number of homes. As part of that scheme, traditional street patterns that disappeared when the estate was built back in the 1960s and 70s will be reinstated. Before the estate was built, the Portobello Road continued northwards until it connected with Ladbroke Grove. After the redevelopment it will do so again, terminating at the eastern corner of the 67-acre Kensal site which is the focus of separate, even larger regeneration ambitions.If a Council-led campaign to bring a "Portobello" Crossrail station to the Kensal site succeeds, thousands of new homes, plus an array of new businesses and community facilities would become economically viable. In fact, the Council is currently consulting on a range of development options for Kensal. One of the options under discussion for example, envisages a waterside style development with 3,500 homes, a reinstated canal basin and a new bridge across the rail tracks. In a recently published report, leading economic analyst, Regeneris, estimates that a Crossrail station would create 2,000 new jobs and add £690 million to the local economy. And in an earlier report Regeneris showed there was a stronger case for a station on the Kensal site than at any other confirmed station site outside of east London, concluding that had Kensal been looked at from the outset, it would certainly have been included in the original Crossrail plans. "Taken together, the new Wornington Green, the redevelopment of the Kensal site and the step change in transport options provided by a Portobello Station would utterly transform this large, disadvantaged neighbourhood and give a massive boost to the local and London economy ," said the Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Councillor Sir Merrick Cockell."That's the big picture and we are doing everything we can to get the Crossrail authorities to see it before it is too late."Wornington Green developers, Catalyst Housing Ltd, are long-standing supporters of the Portobello Crossrail campaign. "A Portobello station would make a real difference to our existing tenants and those buying into our development in terms of the quality of life and economic opportunity north and south of the Harrow Road," said Rod Cahill Catalyst's Chief Executive. "That's why we agree that it is time to say yes to a Portobello Crossrail station."As well as contributing to wider regeneration, the hope is that the extension of Portobello Road and a new Portobello station would together help to secure the future of Portobello and Golborne Markets. Not only will the extension to Portobello have new retail space at ground floor level it will connect with the eastern end of the Kensal development site on which the station would be built. That station would be capable of delivering new day trippers from the east and west of the Capital and eventually from the Midlands once HS2 is complete.
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