Designs for a proposed two-story extension atop of the Cromwell Mansions, Kensington, have caused a stir among local residents who have said that the addition to the building would be “alien” to the character of the area.
The “UFO extension,” so called because some have compared the designs to an alien spaceship, would comprise “two two-bed dwellings and one three-bed dwelling.”
aLL Design, who created the curved lightweight steel and wood structure, claim that the distinctive design will limit the amount of light blocked by the extension on existing buildings.
The architecture firm say that they “work in all scales of design and cultural endeavour” and that their designs simply “make life better.”
Cromwell Mansions, which were built at the end of the 1800’s, is a six-story residential block of flats. Flats in the red brick Victorian building are currently worth nearly £3 million and rent for between £6,000 – £8,000 per month.
Many residents have launched complaints to the RBKC planning office.
“This looks ridiculous on a 19th Century Building” said Peter Harris, on behalf of the Kempsford Gardens Residents Association, because the plans are “totally out of keeping extension to the existing building.”
Another local resident, Susan Bicknell, complained that “the proposed construction is aimed at a portion of the market that is not required in this area,” adding the commonly held belief that construction works “will only add to the congestion of traffic on the Cromwell Road” and the small streets in the Earl’s Court Village.
However, a local resident who wished to remain anonymous told KCW Today that they thought the design was “innovative” and would “cause less problems for locals than building another mega-basement.”
Plans affecting London’s rooflines could be set to become increasingly common as a consultation by the Department for Communities and Local Government investigating “Upward Extensions in London” aiming to “incentivise house building,” could permit the building of “up to 2 additional stories” on top of existing buildings.
Under this policy, designs like the “UFO-extension” could become part of the London skyline, with many boroughs being encouraged to allow residents to “build upwards,” rather than demolish existing buildings.
Plans were submitted to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on 17th February earlier this year, and the council is expected to decide whether the plans will pass by the 27th April.
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