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New homes at Balmoral Castle and Darwin House get planning approval

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Darwin House and Balmoral Castle get planning approval

Published: 9 June 2021

Westminster Council gets approval to build 52 new homes 

Westminster City Council’s planning sub-committee has approved the council’s plans to build 52 new high-quality, affordable homes in Churchill Gardens, right in the heart of London.

Thirty-four community supportive homes will be built to replace the current 31 homes in Darwin House, and in addition, 18 new homes for intermediate rent will be built on the site of the former Balmoral Castle pub and the nearby garages.

The purpose-built community supportive homes are designed to be dementia-friendly and will be fully accessible, with two lifts and step-free access.

These new community supportive homes will be almost twice the size of the current Darwin House bedsits, providing higher quality accommodation for existing Darwin House residents and new residents and featuring flexible living areas with space for a carer or family member to stay over.

The affordable homes for intermediate rent will be prioritised for those living locally and are aimed at people with single or combined household incomes of between £32,000 and £60,000 who do not qualify for social rent but are unable to afford market value homes in the area. Intermediate rent fills the gap in the rental market for people who need a helping hand onto the housing ladder.

Darwin House and Balmoral Castle get planning approval for 52 new homes

The development will also provide new green spaces for the whole estate and the homes will have private outdoor space with a balcony or garden for the residents to enjoy.

A dementia-friendly garden for residents of the community supportive homes will be built, there will be a new path to Grosvenor Road to help provide easier access to the bus stop and all existing trees will be retained, with new trees to be planted.

As part of Westminster Council’s commitment to be a carbon neutral council by 2030 and city by 2040, sustainability is at the forefront of the design of the development. 

The homes will be designed to high environmental standards, using Passivhaus principles which will result in lower energy use for residents and a reduction in carbon emissions in the long term.

Cllr Heather Acton, Cabinet Member for Communities and Regeneration, said:

Building much-needed affordable homes fit for people at all stages of their lives is a huge priority for us as a council. The new community supportive homes will provide existing residents of Darwin House and new residents with far more spacious, modern, and energy-efficient homes than at present. We will also provide 18 new intermediate homes to help address the lack of homes available for those on middle incomes in Westminster. In order to maximise the benefits for the local community, the new intermediate homes will be offered first to residents in the local area.

The designs have been considered carefully to complement the existing, highly regarded, estate architecture and the new green outdoor spaces aim to improve the lives and wellbeing of the wider Churchill Gardens community.