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Delayed Chelsea plan ready to start

A controversial £500m regeneration scheme in Chelsea is set to begin on site in January after a long delay, Construction News understands.

The Lots Road luxury residential development, which includes the conversion of the redundant Lots Road power station, 10 new buildings, with a 25-storey tower in Kensington and Chelsea and a 37-storey tower in Hammersmith and Fulham, has faced heavy opposition since 2006, when the then deputy prime minister John Prescott overruled a local planning inspector to grant the scheme planning permission.

But sources close to the scheme have revealed that construction is set to begin on site imminently. “Any rumours about the project being resized or not going ahead just aren’t true,” said one source.

“The first basement package has been tendered and work should be starting on the first tower in January. It’s full steam ahead at the moment.”

The project, which is being developed by Circadian Limited - a joint venture between Taylor Woodrow Developments and Hutchinson Whampoa Properties, was originally thrown out by Kensington and Chelsea council
in 2003.

Circadian then appealed and the scheme went to public enquiry. The inquiry inspector John Gray concluded that the towers would be too dominant and exceed housing density limits for the area.

In 2006, Mr Prescott said he did not agree that the towers would be unduly high, adding that they would be “attractive landmarks” in an area that was “not one of particular sensitivity to tall buildings.”

The scheme revolves around the restoration and conversion of the power station.

A new public street will be incorporated within the power station to provide neighbourhood shops on the ground
floor with commercial uses at first floor level.

These include office and workshop space, a local food store and other shops and community amenities such as a nursery and a gym. A total of 0.7 hectares of public open space will be provided. Accommodation will be provided on the upper levels of the converted power station structure and within a 25-storey tower located at the mouth of Chelsea Creek.

In total there will be 0.9 hectares of new landscaped open spaces in Hammersmith and Fulham, in addition to the site’s private gardens and amenity space.

Residential accommodation will be provided in terraces located alongside a new creekside park and the existing Chelsea Harbour development, and within a 37-storey Thames-side tower.

A total of 397 housing units will be provided with 216 units to be designated as affordable housing.