The Annual meeting between The Chelsea Society and the Chelsea Residents’ Associations, under the auspices of the Planning Committee of the Society, was held at Chelsea Old Town Hall on Monday 7th November 2016. It was attended by more than 100 people.
The Chairman of the Planning Committee, Michael Stephen, introduced the Ward Members of the Committee, Patrick Baty (Stanley), Chris Lenon (Royal Hospital), Martyn Baker (Riverside) and Sir Paul Lever (Brompton-Hans), and also the Vice-chairman of the Society, Dr. James Thompson, all of whom were present. Apologies were received from Damian Greenish, Chairman of the Society.
Michael Stephen said that the Society values its relationship with the Chelsea Residents’ Associations, of which there are now 41, and would support them whenever it could. The Society had recently worked with the Markham Square RA in opposing all-night trading at MacDonalds; with the Cheyne Walk Trust re Chelsea Boats; with the Dovehouse St. RA on Thamesbrook and the Royal Brompton Hospital’s development plans, and with MISARA on Sloane St.
The guest speakers were Cllr. Nicholas Paget-Brown, Leader of the Council of RBKC, and Cllr. Tony Devenish, the Member of the Greater London Assembly for RBKC, City of Westminster, and LB Hammersmith & Fulham. Cllr. Tim Coleridge, Cabinet Member at RBKC for Planning and Transport, was also present and contributed to the discussion. Apologies were received from Rt. Hon. Greg Hands MP, who was with the Prime Minister in India.
Cllr Paget-Brown said that Crossrail2 had been called in by the Secretary of State for Transport, and would probably be considered by the Prime Minister herself. A decision was not therefore likely until the Spring of 2017. He said that the Council continued to believe that a station should be built on the Kings Road but the Treasury had required a reduction of the cost by £4.5 billion. In his view this was more likely to work against the construction of a station in the Kings Road than in favour. He also addressed the following topics – Enforcement of planning control; Basements; the review of Parliamentary boundaries; heart surgery for children at the Royal Brompton, which may be moved by the NHS to another hospital; the revaluation of Business Rates; and step-free access at South Kensington station. The chairman said that instead of spending money on cosmetic work at Sloane Sq. station, the Society had asked TfL to provide step-free access down to the platforms there.
Cllr. Devenish explained that the Mayor was a directly-elected Executive Mayor and had wide powers, and that the GLA and the Mayor were responsible for Transport, Law & Order, and Housing & Urban regeneration in London. As chairman of the Planning Committee, Cllr. Devenish believed that it was a matter for the Boroughs whether very tall buildings were appropriate, and he supported the view of RBKC that they were not appropriate in Chelsea. He also referred to Crossrail 2, and agreed that the influence of the Treasury would make it difficult for a station in the King’s Road to be built.
The meeting was then opened for questions and comments.
Chris Lenon asked whether RBKC supported development on the site of the possible station on the Kings Road and whether it had offered a financial contribution. Cllr Paget Brown responded that the Council supported only limited development at the King’s Road site, and had offered a financial contribution toward a station on Crossrail 1 at Kensal Green in the north of the Borough. A resident of Royal Avenue reiterated his opposition to a station on the King’s Road, and the Chairman said that a station at Kensal Green made a lot more sense than a station on the King’s Road. See https://chelseasociety.org.uk/question-mayor-crossrail2/
Rosemary Baker asked about the massive development proposed by LBHF on the border of Chelsea and felt that it would be excessive. Cllr. Paget-Brown said that large developments are not possible without adequate provision for schools, shops, transport etc. and that RBKC would be making representations. Cllr. Devenish thought it would be overdevelopment and would be unlikely to happen.
Amalia Cebreiro expressed the concerns of the residents of the Cremorne Estate about anti-social behaviour centred on one of the local pubs, and asked for the police and the Licensing Committee to respond to their concerns. She noted that the Chelsea police station had been closed and should be re-opened. Cllr. Paget-Brown, Cllr Devenish and Cllr. Coleridge all responded, and the Chairman said that not only the police station but also the Post Office, should be reopened.
Jane Dorrell said that the Dovehouse St. RA were delighted that an Article 4 direction had been made to prevent Le Colombier restaurant from being converted into a shop without planning permission, and thanked the Society for its support. See https://chelseasociety.org.uk/le-colombier/
Terence Bendixson said that the application for redevelopment of the Affinity-Sutton Estate should be refused in its present form, and that more attention should be paid to the architectural quality of the proposed buildings and the need to retain as many social housing units as possible. See https://chelseasociety.org.uk/affinity-sutton-estate/
Patrick Baty asked about the redevelopment of the Thamesbrook care home at Dovehouse Green as a private care facility for elderly people who could afford it. Cllr. Paget-Brown said that the money raised from the sale would be used to provide care in Chelsea for people who could not afford to live in the redeveloped Thamesbrook. See https://chelseasociety.org.uk/thamesbrook/
Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive of Cadogan, gave a brief explanation of their plans for Sloane Street. See https://chelseasociety.org.uk/sloane-street/
Dr. James Thompson explained the problem faced by the London Sketch Club, who had been served with a noise abatement notice on a complaint made by one resident. The Chairman said that the Sketch Club, together with the Chelsea Arts Club, and the Heatherly Art School are among the few remaining connections Chelsea has with the time when it was home to some of the world’s greatest artists. The Society would do everything possible to encourage and support Chelsea’s artistic community. See https://chelseasociety.org.uk/sketch-club-threat/
Col. David Waddell, Chairman of the Cheyne Walk Trust explained their concerns about development plans by the new owners of Cadogan Pier and Chelsea Reach. The Chairman said that the Society had met with representatives of the boat owners. The Society had also been approached by the developer, and would of course listen to his point of view. See https://chelseasociety.org.uk/chelsea-boats/
The Shawfield St. RA raised a complaint that bus shelters had been removed without consulting local residents. Cllr. Coleridge said that this was due to a change in the advertising companies but the shelters would be replaced in January.
The Chairman thanked the Society’s Secretary, Jennifer Grossman, for all her help in organising the meeting, and closed the meeting at 8:25 pm.