Darwin House & Balmoral Castle: Submit your views to the Council


Westminster Council’s planning application for the redevelopment of Darwin House and the Balmoral Castle site on Churchill Gardens has now gone live on its planning portal.

You can view the Council’s full proposals – and leave your views and comments about the plans – at www.westminster.gov.uk/planning, using the reference/search term 20/06899/COFUL.

Churchill Labour councillors have raised Shelley House residents’ concerns over the proposed height of the tallest block. We welcome the creation of improved and extra community supported housing – while reiterating to the Council that we believe all new housing on Churchill Gardens should be social – not just affordable – housing.

Churchill Labour Councillors’ views on the Council’s plans:

Churchill Labour Councillors always welcome the creation of any new social housing and we also recognise the specific need for community supported housing.

It’s precisely because we are passionate about social housing that we don’t believe these Council plans go far enough.

Churchill Gardens was created as a social housing estate – and any new housing built on it should be social housing. While one new block being built is social (the community supported housing), the other new block is not – it is for ‘intermediate’ housing. And while we recognise there’s a need for intermediate housing, the need for social housing – often by our most vulnerable residents – is greater: there are currently over 4,200 households on the social housing waiting list in Westminster, many of whom have been waiting (and will continue to wait) for years for suitable housing.

We have also raised with Westminster Council the concerns of residents of Shelley House, and others, about the proposed height of the block closest to their building – and yet the Council has not changed its plans accordingly.

We welcome the local lettings policy that will give residents on Churchill Gardens Estate priority on the new housing being built. But we reiterate that it should all be social housing.

Finally, we have reminded the Council that the petition which led to it making these plans crucially only referred to the disused Balmoral Castle pub site and never mentioned redeveloping Darwin House. As a result, we don’t feel residents were properly consulted in the first instance in terms of developing the initial ideas for this site, and we hope that the Council has taken learnings from this.

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