Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners-designed proposals to redevelop South Kensington tube station have been pulled for further design work ahead of a planning committee meeting tonight – even though councillors were being advised to approve the scheme.
Transport for London and development partner Native Land lodged their proposals for station improvements, 50 new homes and a range of shops, restaurants and workspace with Kensington and Chelsea council last summer. The authority’s planning committee had been due to consider officers’ recommendations to approve the scheme later today.
But the meeting has now been cancelled after TfL and Native land asked for the application to be withdrawn so that “further amendments to the designs could be made”. The plans for grade-II listed South Ken, which was built in 1868 and is one of the oldest and busiest stations on the tube network, were the only item on the agenda.
A statement from the joint-venture partnership set up between TfL and Native Land to deliver the scheme welcomed planning officers’ support for the proposals. But it acknowledged that their report – which was published last week – also raised concerns that the team wanted to address.
“We have asked that RBKC defer its planning committee so that we can work with the borough on some further refinements to the designs to address some of the remaining issues raised in the officer’s report,” a spokesman for the joint venture said.
“Our plans, which build on extensive consultation and have received broad support from the wider community and important local organisations and institutions, will provide 50 homes, of which 35% will be affordable, and a contemporary range of shops, restaurants and workspaces – as well as completing the delivery of much-needed step-free access to the Circle and District lines.
“Our plans provide for a considered, contextual scheme that will bring a renewed sense of place to South Kensington as well as a wide range of public benefits, and we look forward to bringing the proposals forward.”
A spokesman for Kensington and Chelsea council’s planning committee said the project team’s request to withdraw the report from the meeting had been accepted yesterday.
“This is an opportunity for the applicant to address the concerns of residents who have contributed to the process so far and review shortcomings in the current design,” he said.
RSHP is the sixth architect in 30 years to attempt a rejig of the historic South Kensington station. Previous redevelopment attempts – including a proposal for a tower – have been fought off by an army of passionate heritage campaigners.
Scott, Brownrigg & Turner, Terry Farrell & Partners, Francis Machin, John McAslan & Partners and Buckley Grey Yeoman have all drawn up proposals for the station.
RSHP’s scheme includes the four-storey ”Bullnose” building which will replace the existing horseshoe-shaped structure at the front of the station.
TfL and Native Land’s design tweaks are expected to include reducing the height of buildings on Pelham Street and increasing setbacks on top to reduce the structures’ impact on neighbours.
Other changes will reduce the amount of glazing on the rear elevation of the scheme’s Thurloe Street building and the top floor of the Thurloe Square building.
The amended proposals for South Ken station will need to be put through a further round of public consultation, which means that scheme will not return to Kensington and Chelsea’s planning committee before the autumn.
In addition to RSHP, the South Ken project team also includes structural engineer AKT II, cost consultant Core 5, M&E consultant Sweco and Julian Harrap Architects which is working on heritage elements of the scheme.