Mayor Khan rubberstamps Kensington Forum Hotel development after Queensgate/Rockwell agree to 100% social housing


Mayor called in the plans last year after they had been thrown out by Kensington and Chelsea

Kensington Forum Hotel

Queensgate Investments and Rockwell's called in plans for a 749-room hotel and serviced apartment redevelopment of the Kensington Forum Hotel in central London have been rubberstamped by the mayor of London after the duo agreed to provide 100% social houisng. The mayor's office today issued a statement touting Khan's move to intervene to "more than triple the number of genuinely affordable homes".

The application to redevelop the Kensington Forum Hotel will deliver 62 homes, all of which will be available at social rent levels for Londoners on low incomes.

The proposals will replace the existing 906 room hotel with a 749-bedroom hotel, 340 serviced apartments and a conference centre, restaurants, bars, health spa and conference facilities.

The proposals were rejected by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in September 2018, before the Mayor assumed responsibility for the application in order to subject it to further scrutiny in November.

Queensgate and Rockwell have agreed to increase the number of homes to 62 and make all of them affordable.

The duo had previously proposed for 20 of the original 46 homes to be affordable.

The mayor said Kensington and Chelsea has "consistently failed to meet the Mayor’s housing targets in recent years, and the Mayor has pushed his planning powers to their limits in order to deliver more affordable homes in the borough".

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I welcome the developer committing to provide 100 per cent social housing in this scheme – in a borough that has consistently failed to meet its housing targets.

“I’m clear that I will do everything in my power to increase the delivery of new social rented and other genuinely affordable homes across the capital.

“These plans also include hundreds of new hotel rooms, which is critical to maintaining the capital’s status as a leading global tourist destination. It’s vital we give all visitors the best possible experience throughout their stay in London.

“As such, having considered all the evidence available to me, I have decided to approve this application.”

Queensgate Investments bought the hotel financed by SocGen for around £400m in 2016 from Apollo Global Management.

Jason Kow, Chief Executive of Queensgate Investments, who own the Kensington Forum, said: “Queensgate Investments is proud that the Mayor has resolved to grant this unique opportunity to create one of London’s largest hotel and service apartment schemes, whilst also delivering for the needs of the local community and Londoners alike."

Donal Mulryan, Founder of Rockwell, added: “We are delighted that the Mayor of London has resolved to approve this landmark development, which we’ve designed to last at least 150 years and that will continue to deliver for the local community. Kensington Forum is an ambitious scheme of exceptional quality which sets a new benchmark for global visitor accommodation. In doing so it delivers an overwhelming amount of genuinely affordable homes, meaningful employment opportunities, green space and public realm. I’m proud of the significant and positive contribution this will make to London’s continued success and am confident that this will stand as further testament to Rockwell’s passion, commitment and exacting standards.”