The residents of Trellick Tower and the Cheltenham Estate are leading a campaign to ensure that any proposed developments of the area are in keeping with the vision of Goldfinger and fully and properly informed and engaged with community voice.
"As residents of Trellick Tower, the Cheltenham Estate and North Kensington we are deeply concerned about proposals by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for the development of the site at the foot of Trellick Tower.
RBKC’s current scheme, which they took forward to planning at the end of last year, placed two blocks (14 and 6 storeys) at right angles to Trellick Tower, splitting a vibrant and diverse community that has flourished and evolved despite decades of neglect.
The proposals would in effect erect a wall through the centre of the Grade II-listed Cheltenham Estate, a priceless social asset in one of the most deprived areas in the country, and one of the finest examples of Modernist architecture anywhere in the world, designed by renowned Hungarian architect Ernö Goldfinger.
As residents, we are acutely aware of the urgent need for more social housing in the area (many of those on the waiting list are family or friends), and most of us support building additional housing on the Estate. But many of us fear the current plans will further stretch the limited current resources in the poorest part of one of the most unequal boroughs in the country.
In February, RBKC told residents the Council wanted to learn the lessons of Grenfell, consult with the people who live on the Estate and engage with them in a process of co-design. We were heartened by the Council’s apparently positive attitude towards engagement, and local groups spent months attempting to work with the Council and architects Haworth Tompkins to try to influence the design of the scheme so that it respects existing residents and the unique nature of the site while providing much-needed additional social housing in the area.
But while the Council and the architects were willing to make superficial modifications to the design, it became clear no amount of input from local residents could persuade them to alter the fundamental characteristics of their scheme. Key recommendations in the Council’s own Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) (written with community representatives and adopted by Council in 2015) were ignored. Concerns about community cohesion, overcrowding, safety and strains on infrastructure were brushed aside.
Since we raised 2,600 actual ink signatures on a petition plus the several thousand more on-line we won a debate at full council which caused them to first fast track their application with no warning and then publicly withdraw it for more “consultation and compromise“.
Currently we are waiting for their further moves while exploring our own future actions including possible legal actions such as a Judicial Review.