The Kensington Park Palace was a block of beautiful Victorian terraces
and 1930s brown brick buildings on Devere Gardens and Victoria Street facing Hyde Park.
In 1982 the block was added to the Kensington New Town Conservation Area which should have afforded it protection.
Before and After: Kensington Road facing west in 2009 (top) and 2017 (bottom).
However in 2006 new owners, notorious London developers the ‘Candy Brothers’, lodged plans to replace it with 100 luxury units.
At the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Planning development committee in April 2007, planning officer Jennifer Gilbert revealed the scale of the community outrage:
The old Kensington Park Palace in 2009 (top) and the current building in 2015 (bottom).
Of the 79 letters of community feedback received, an overwhelming 76 were against.
This was met with a stern interjection from David Prout, Executive Director of Planning and Borough Development, who cautioned committee members, opposition to the application ‘was not of itself a relevant consideration’.
Before and After: View from Hyde Park, across Victoria St 2009 (top) and 2016 (bottom)
Undeterred, members of the public in attendance hammered the proposal. One labeled the new building so monolithic ‘it could have been designed by a ten year old with a ruler’.
In response, architect David Chipperfield, also present, defended his design as a ‘masterpiece’
while disparaging the existing building as ‘offensive’.
The new building under construction in 2012 Source: Google Streetview
After hearing all submissions, the 8 person committee reached an impasse. Half, including chairman Tony Holt voted in favor of the demolition with the other half against. Holt then used his 'casting vote' to proceeded in favor of the redevelopment.
In doing so, committee members flagrantly violated sections CD60 CD61 and CD62 of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Unitary Development Plan.
The view from Hyde Park looking south in 2009 (top) and 2016 (bottom) with the new building.
The Plan states ‘it needs to be demonstrated that the (change to any) development preserves or enhances the character or appearance of the conservation area.
Having received their approval, the Candy Brothers swiftly sold the site 9 months later to a development arm of the Abu Dhabi Royal family for a £250 million profit.
With planning approval still intact, The Kensington Park Palace was demolished in 2011.