An urban landscape
RBKC Direct - 2004/05 Priorities
Newsletter 24 | February 2010

Core strategy: Putting the neighbourhood first

The Royal Borough is famous for its diverse range of social, cultural, business and retail activities, all of which make it one of the most desirable residential areas of London in which to live. While this popularity brings with it its own set of challenges, the Council is keen to ensure that the borough continues to flourish. In an attempt to shape the way the borough evolves over the next 20 years the Council has drafted The Core Strategy, a document that sets out the future development of the borough.

It looks ahead to 2028 and identifies where the main developments will take place and how places within the borough will change – or be protected from change – over that period.

While the Core Strategy is very consciously a plan for all of Kensington and Chelsea, it does seek to reduce the disparity between the north and south of the borough. RBKC Direct has covered the Council's plans for North Kensington in previous issues including the case for a new school and the Council's support for a Crossrail Station at Kensal.

Central to the Core Strategy is the Council's aim to build a better city life. To do this the Council needs the right planning policies.

The Council is seeking to:

  • ensure that demand for residential development in the borough does not result in fewer shops, offices, community and social facilities.
  • make it easier to travel around the borough without using a car and improve public travel networks in the north of the borough.
  • protect the borough's historic building and renowned streetscapes and parks and ensure the new buildings will be valued by future generations.
  • provide housing at the right prices and address the social housing needs in the borough.
  • reduce the carbon footprint of the borough.
  • reduce the disparity between the north and south of the borough by increasing opportunities in North Kensington.

As well as stimulating regeneration in North Kensington, the strategy looks at how to enhance the reputation of the borough's national and international destinations such as Knightsbridge, Portobello Road, South Kensington, King's Road, Kensington High Street and Earl's Court by supporting and encouraging retail and cultural activities.

Further along Kensington High Street, the redevelopment of the Commonwealth Institute site will help attract more visitors to the area and maintain the vitality of Kensington High Street, which is facing competition from other retail centres such as Westfield.

It wants to ensure that in 2028 King's Road will still be seen as an iconic shopping street and not just as a successful shopping area.

One of the ways of achieving this will be to require new large-scale retail developments that take place near the King's Road/Sloane Square Centre to provide for small and affordable shop units by way of Section 106 agreements.

The Earl's Court area will change significantly. Warwick Road will undergo a major transformation that will potentially result in 1,600 new homes in the area, as well as accompanying community facilities.

The redevelopment of Earl's Court Exhibition Centre, due to close after the 2012 Olympics, will provide an opportunity to bridge the divide with Hammersmith and Fulham caused by the West London Line, but the Council is also keen for Earl's Court to retain its reputation as a national, if not international, cultural destination.

The redesign of Exhibition Road will enhance the area's reputation as one of the country's internationally-renowned cultural destinations. Kensington and Chelsea Council is keen to build on its historic successes and create the right balance for life in the borough in 2028.

It is concerned, though, that the price of land for residential development in the borough, coupled with a highly desirable living environment, could lead to the slow homogenisation of the area.

The Core Strategy seeks to ensure that there is a place in the borough for the small shops, galleries and community facilities that bring such vitality to the area, but the Council is not all powerful when it comes to local planning matters.

However much it might like to prevent antiques shops closing and being replaced by clothes shops, it simply does not have the power to prevent this.

The document is the culmination of a great deal of hard work by the Council, its partners and, importantly, the residents who have participated in its preparation.

To read it in detail visit

RBKC Direct

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