Green light for disputed £1bn Kensington hotel project

A £1bn hotel scheme in Kensington, west London, has been approved by the Greater London Authority (GLA) for a second time.

The Kensington Forum, a development by Queensgate Investments and Rockwell will see the replacement of the existing 29-storey Kensington Forum Hotel with a new project including a new 30-storey hotel, 340 apartments and 62 affordable flats across three linked blocks. It will also include 2,700 square metres of new green space.

The proposal received more than 750 objection letters, which included complaints about its design, impact on views and character of the area.

An application for the project was rejected by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in October 2018 but later overruled by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. His office’s attempts to approve the scheme were challenged at the High Court at the request of the council over the mayor not giving central government the opportunity to call in the scheme. The GLA withdrew its approval in the face of the challenge.

The same application, with no changes made to the design, has now been re-considered by the Greater London Authority and approved for a second time.