The unwanted gentrification of Portobello Road - An Era Lost
Notting Hill and surrounding areas are very important to us at Independent Property Solutions (IPS), its where our business was formed and my home for many years. Like other locals the draw to this area is it’s cultural diversity, it’s the rich living alongside the poor (as is a lot of London), it’s the tourist(about 100,000 per week) and the locals no matter their pay packet that appreciate this cultural difference & create this lovey original and gritty atmosphere.
For the last few years (2015) plans have been submitted and many discussions had as to what to do with the 23 acre stretch under the Westway, managed by the Westway Trust. The Trust as before are being accused of ‘aiding and abetting’ gentrification in the area. Plans to gentrify the area were fumbled last year, but they are back, you only need to go to RBKC website to see the shiny new plans and the many ‘objections’.
Gentrification can’t be helped throughout London especially with global attractions like Portobello Road. The new development will make way for further fashion stores, cafes, restaurants and of course housing which is likely where they will generate their profits and funds for the development. The extra shops and café’s will benefit from a better layout allowing more shop frontage and ergonomic footfall. The Acklam Village bar which rattles and shakes with tarpaulin made walls and cars flying over head are the sort of gimey and enchanting spaces that will be turned into a Café Nero, shops will likely take the place of stall and be to expensive for the likes of entrepreneurs of a time passed like Levi Roots (Reggae Reggae Sauce), Pret has already dug their heels in under the Westway with their new shop opening last month on Ladbroke Grove. What’s next KPH turning in Foxtons…. (we’ve heard rumours, but current accepted RBKC plans show a full refurb to existing hotel/bar/resto). Sadly Vince Powers (better know for/as Mean Fiddler) the festival curator lost his battle to keep the bar last year #SaveKPH. He can still be found at his bar/club on North End Road Nells, playing the likes of Van Morrison & Terry Reid WOW !
So while there are benefits to the development under the Westway we can’t help but side with the locals and feel sad that yet another little slice of character and feel of the old will be pushed aside for high street names and not the independent retailers/stalls. The Portobello Gold famous for its raised tree house seating in a jungle setting also poured its last pint last year, we think resulting in the end of any independent non-brewery owned pubs on Portobello, there are no active applications for the development of this site, but we’ll let you know when there is. For those of you that remember The Fat Badger (now Pizza East of the Soho House Group, 35yr lease sold Dec 2010)) we ‘toast’ you to a time gone by and many a good evening, often with a lock in.
For full information of the plans for under the Westway visit www.rbkc.gov.uk > Planning & building control > search view and comment > then ender case no. PP/17/01637 or search ‘Westway” or http://www.westway.org/news/update-portobello-scheme
For Full information re the refurbishment of KPH from bar / hostel & gig venue to fancy Hotel Restaurant & small bar can also be seen on the RBKC website, feel free to get in touch if you would like us to send you the link.
Thanks you for taking the time to read my entry, and putting up with my illiteracy.