Over the last 15 years the Council has pursued a policy of driving up the quality of our streetscape. In the late 1990s, following an initiative by the Society, the Council agreed to makeover of the King’s Road, with a single type of pavement (York stone) and side-road “tables” to create a level surface for pedestrians from Sloane Square to the Fulham boundary. In 2009/10 the Council revisited the King’s Road and put in new lighting columns, removed nearly all the signs and railings, and apart from the bollards, totally cleaned up the streetscape.
In 2007 BT and JC Decaux tried to get a small programme of advert panels with a coin-operated payphone on the back. All eleven applications, including three in the King’s Road were refused by the Council and the subsequent appeals all dismissed. The “deal” was to take out several BT phone boxes in exchange for each advertising column.
In 2012 BT/JC Decaux approached the Cabinet Member for Planning with a much more ambitious programme. Council officers were asked to help them find suitable sites – an initial list of 60 was cut down to 41 and these were submitted as applications, again offering to remove several phone boxes for each advertisement panel. The planning officer recommended 25 of these be allowed and 16 refused, but following a strong campaign from the Chelsea and Kensington Societies, councillors and residents’ associations, the Planning Committee refused all of the applications on the grounds of their impact on local amenity. BT and JC Decaux appealed in earlier this year.
The Inspector’s report has now arrived, allowing 20 out of the 25 appeals. The result was particularly bad for the King’s Road – 6 out of 7 were allowed. This could not have happened without the initial encouragement of the Council. What a mistake to think that the public would think it was a good “deal”!!