Update 18nd May 2023
We are pleased to report that following consideration at Westminster Council’s planning committee meeting on 17th May, the Portsea Mews planning application has now been approved.
Update 23rd February 2023
The previous application that we originally wrote about was withdrawn and replaced with a new application much the same as the original one, but without the mansard roof extension. HyPER strongly supports this new application and we are keen to see this development proceed as soon as possible. Our planning application comments are as follows:
HyPER strongly supports this planning application. We are looking forward to finally see the development of this promising project, and the end of the decrepit existing buildings and associated antisocial behaviour that has plagued the area for a significant time.
Whilst the majority of members and the committee were supportive of the previous application that included the mansard roof, we have now re-engaged with the small number of members who were directly affected by loss of light to their properties with those proposals. With these new plans, those members are also now supportive, so we can confidently state that this is an application that has support from residents across the whole estate and who are all keen to see it move forward as soon as possible.
We are excited by the new commercial space, and hope that this will make Connaught Village more viable, with more footfall throughout the day.
Update 14th February 2022
HyPER has looked at the planning application and considered feedback received, and we have identified the issues below. We have discussed these points and come to the conclusions as stated. We consider that the development brings a lot to Connaught Village and more generally the Hyde Park Estate, and that on balance it should be supported. Pending any final feedback from members, we intend to formally support the planning application by the end of this week.
Reduced light to surrounding buildings
Concerns have been raised by owners of houses on Connaught Square and Kendal Street that surround the mews. The scheme proposes to add a mansard roof to the mews houses, and the concerns are that this additional height will reduce light to the surrounding houses. We understand these concerns and have investigated the impact. To evaluate the impact, we have looked at the independently-produced Daylight and Sunlight Report. This document (73 pages) analyses the detailed impact to each individual surrounding building. We also took independent advice from architects RISE Design Studio. On the basis of these, we consider that the impact on daylight is negligible and that when balanced with the benefit of the increased building space they are not a reason to oppose the scheme.
CO2 building emissions
The developer has publicly stated that the buildings will result in a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions through energy efficiency. We didn’t think this seemed very much, when, for example, 80/90% can generally be achieved with Passivhaus/EnerPHit standards. Having clarified this with the developer, we have been told that the 10% figure is simply the number required by the Council; the developer is actually estimating a 62% improvement for residential over the existing. However, we would like to see this better stipulated with the planning permission and would also like the developer to better ensure this with stronger standards.
Lack of affordable housing
We have been disappointed for there not to be any element of affordable accommodation as part of the development. Whilst the development is simply replacing old with new, and as such there is arguably no need to provide any new affordable housing, we still think this is a missed opportunity, given that there is very little in the way of affordable housing for all those workers who serve our area yet cannot afford to live here. Nonetheless, we do not consider this to be a reason to oppose the planning application.
Planning application now open
The planning application for the development is now open and can be viewed and responded to on the Council’s website.
Proposals have been put forward for the redevelopment of Portsea Mews (located between the Porchester Place shops and Portsea Street). The redevelopment will see significant investment going into regenerate the mews, previously some residential accommodation as well as once home to Hardman & Collis (said to have been central London’s oldest car repair garage). Having now been empty for some time, the mews is in a poor state of repair and is suffering from antisocial behaviour.
The proposals are for the refurbishment and renovation of the entire mews, including the incorporation of a new entrance on Porchester Place (using what is currently Connaught Cellars, fortunately being relocated elsewhere in Connaught Village). A mixed-use development is being planned, encompassing 7 new apartments, and large new offices totalling 11,000 sq ft.
Subject to planning permission, work will start in summer 2022, due to complete winter 2023.
We’re pleased to see that the designs are sympathetic to the historical character of the area and retain many existing features. They are also designed with future sustainability in mind, with as much natural ventilation as possible as well as greening being integrated.
The building works will not be as intrusive as originally planned: a large basement was removed from the original design, in order to keep interference during building works to a minimum.