Letter to Planning Dept. at RBKC:
The Chelsea Society has obtained, through the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, the records of your pre-application discussions about the proposed development of Colebrook Court in Sloane Avenue (AR/19/04913). I am writing to express our concern, indeed our horror, at what the developers have in mind; and our hope that you and your colleagues on the Council’s staff will continue to oppose them vigorously.
Colebrook Court is a low rise building surrounded by blocks of flats which are mostly around eight storeys high.. To replace it with a 26, 23, 18 or 16 storey steel and glass skyscraper would be an act of wanton vandalism. Such a building would dominate the whole of the surrounding area. In your exchanges with the developers you rightly drew attention to the impact on the view from the Royal Hospital. But a tower block of the size proposed would be widely visible throughout this part of Chelsea and would be an incongruous blight on a landscape which does not feature high buildings. We would urge you to look not just at the heritage implications for one particular location, but at the impact on the Chelsea Conservation Area as a whole.
The developers seem to be attempting to put pressure on the Council by positing a trade-off between the height of the building and the provision of affordable housing. We hope that you will continue to resist this specious argument. The Chelsea Society agrees with the need for more affordable (and social) housing in Chelsea and has on occasions urged the Council to be robust in imposing its requirement for 35% onsite provision. But this should not mean the abandonment of normal planning guidelines regarding the height of buildings and the erection of tower blocks in areas which are manifestly unsuited to them.
Finally we have concerns about the style of the building which is proposed. It may that the design is of high quality. But is a predominantly glass and steel construction really appropriate in an area whose surrounding buildings are red brick and stone?
We would be grateful if you could keep us informed of further developments regarding this site. The Chelsea Society exists in order to preserve and enhance the unique character of this part of London. We believe strongly that, if accepted, the proposed development of Colebrook Court would be a disaster which would do irreparable damage.
Planning Committee, (Brompton-Hans Ward) The Chelsea Society