The full extent of the St Quintin Estate in North Kensington stretches from the West London railway line to the west, Ladbroke Grove to the east, and the elevated Westway to the south. The area was laid out built by the St Quintin family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Estate agents now often refer to the St Quintin Estate as the smaller area covering the streets of Edwardian terraced houses running between St Helens Gardens, St Quintin Avenue, and Highlever Road (Wallingford and Kelfield Avenues, Oxford and Kelfield Gardens, Balliol and Kingsbridge Roads).
The St Helens Residents Association was formed in 2008, and has subsequently established a neighbourhood forum for the area. The St Quintin and Woodlands Neighbourhood Plan, drawn up by local residents, was submitted to Kensington and Chelsea Council in May.
The Draft Plan aims to retain those features which local residents most appreciate about the neighbourhood (its ‘village feel’ and attractive setting) while steering future development to the most appropriate locations. Key proposals in the Plan are to regenerate Latimer Road (part of an Employment Zone) and to retain all three of the remaining ‘St Quintin backlands’. The latter are areas of green space behind the terraced streets, designed and used originally for local tennis and bowls clubs.
The West London Bowling Club in Highlever Road dates from the 1930s and has recently seen its fortunes revive. A new management committee and a recruitment drive have restored financial stability. The Club now offers a range of activities (film club, book club) in addition to lawn bowling and has become a social focus and meeting place for the neighbourhood.
Proposals by housing developer Metropolis Property to build 20 new houses on land at Nursery Lane are being vigorously opposed by local residents. This green backland, with its row of magnificent weeping willows, was used until this summer by Clifton Nurseries, the major garden nursery firm based in Maida Vale. The Draft Neighbourhood Plan proposes that this site, the Bowling Club, and a third backland owned by the Methodist Church off Kelfield Gardens, are all designated as Local Green Spaces. Neighbourhood Plans have the necessary legal status to achieve this outcome.
Residents support the need for new housing in the area, and the Draft Plan identifies three alternative proposed locations. These include Latimer Road, which local people would like to see revived with a wider mix of uses and activities than permitted under current Kensington and Chelsea planning policies.
The decisions on these and other proposals in the Draft Neighbourhood Plan now rest on the shoulders of the independent ‘examiner’ of the plan. A public hearing, chaired by the examiner John Parmiter FRICS MRTPI, will take place on September 22nd at St Helens Church, in St Helens Gardens W10, starting at 10.00am.
If this examination finds that the proposals in the neighbourhood plan meet the necessary legal conditions, a local referendum will follow. If supported by a majority vote, the plan will then be adopted by the Council as part of the statutory Local Plan framework.
The St Quintin and Woodlands Neighbourhood Plan is one of the first in London to propose specific site allocations. Hence it carries the hopes of other resident groups keen to use neighbourhood plans in the way intended by Government, as a ‘powerful tool’ within the national planning system, giving local communities the right to shape and steer the future of their immediate area.
For more information, see the Forum’s website at www.stqw.org, and the website of the St Helens Residents Association at www.sthelensresidents.org.uk. If you are moving into the area, or thinking about doing so, you can contact both bodies by email at email@example.com.
Chair St Quintin and Woodlands Neighbourhood Forum and St Helens Residents Association
10 September 2015