We speak out to save Kensington’s Athlone gardens

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‘Catastrophic’ is how we have described the effect of the proposed redevelopment of Wornington Green Estate, London W10, on the adjoining Athlone Gardens (1).

Our London representative, Bernard Selwyn, has written to Kensington and Chelsea Council to object to the Kensington Housing Trust’s planning application because of its effect on Athlone Gardens. 

Says Bernard:  ‘The effect of the redevelopment of the estate on Athlone Gardens, which is less than 30 years old, is “catastrophic”.  A newly-created park requires much longer than this to come to a proper maturity and, even with a full nearby replacement area, it means starting again on the lengthy maturing process with new tree planting.

‘The worst aspect of the proposal is the length of time over which the development will continue.  It is programmed for nearly 12 years but this is very optimistic. It could take much longer, or even be abandoned, for financial or other reasons before the intended completion in 2022. 

‘The park serves not only the residents of the Wornington Green Estate, but also a much wider public from the surrounding North Kensington neighbourhood which will lose a valuable amenity with children’s and teenagers’ playspace.

 ‘Nearly half the area of the gardens, together with the adjacent playspace fronting Wornington Road, is lost from the start, and it increases to half within three years.  It will take time to provide the whole promised replacement and, even in 2022, the hoped-for final area of the gardens will not be as large as the present gardens and playspace.

‘Athlone Gardens were named as a memorial to Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, who died in 1981(3).  It is a poor tribute to her to build over those gardens only 30 years later,’ Bernard concludes.

(1) Athlone Gardens are between the northern end of Portobello Road and Wornington Road, North Kensington.  Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, was the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria and a cousin to the present Queen.

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