Portobello Square Bullet Point Briefing: the latest on the regeneration

In the past month

  • United Living have made good progress with the demolition of Murchison and Wells Houses. The final part of Wells House, closest to the remaining buildings, is now demolished. The ground floor flat will be removed by a small digger. The foundations are being removed, and the waste materials is being sorted. Much of it is being crushed and recycled on site.
  • We began improvement works to the first phase of Athlone Gardens on behalf of RBKC. The first part of this phase will be open at the end of October. Shortly before work started, Catalyst and RBKC held a pop-up in Athlone Gardens to help raise awareness and answer residents’ questions. So far, exclusion zones have been set up to protect existing trees, the foundations for footpaths are being laid, and landscape features are being formed.
  • We’ve met with the Residents’ Steering Group and had a walkabout to discuss security arrangements for Notting Hill Carnival and identify hotspots that should be protected. We’ve also met with RBKC to discuss arrangements and feed in residents’ input.
  • The last two meetings of the Design Working Group for Phase 3 have covered internal communal areas and the layout of new homes. As part of these, the group toured communal areas in Phase 1 and viewed two of the new flats being built in Phase 2a, to provoke discussion and formulate lessons learned from previous phases.
  • The completion of Bond Mansions has unfortunately been delayed, and we are now expecting the new homes to be handed over to us at the end of October. We have written to affected residents about this.
  • In the meantime, we are making good progress in contacting residents and conducting moves plans in order to prepare them for their move. Some residents have viewed their new homes and we are booking in appointments for the remaining residents soon.
  • We are working with members of the Venture Centre board and RBKC officers to evolve the design of the community centre. We will show draft designs at our next consultation event.
  • Health & Wellbeing:  30 local people interested in improving their health and wellbeing attended free one-to-one advice, support and motivational sessions with One You Kensington and Chelsea’s Healthy Lifestyle Adviser at Catalyst Community Shop, Paul House.  The free service includes health checks to measure blood pressure and cholesterol levels along with personalised activity plans to help improve health outcomes.  Residents are invited to drop into Catalyst Community Shop on Wednesdays between 10am – 1pm, for a friendly chat with a Healthy Lifestyle Adviser.
  • As well as presenting a fantastic opportunity for local people to access free support, this initiative further demonstrates Catalyst’s commitment to working with local partners to enhance local service provision.

In the next month

  • It will take United Living longer than expected to remove the foundations of Murchison and Wells Houses. We now expect this work to be finished at the end of September.
  • Once the demolition is complete, we will begin realigning the link road between Portobello Road and Wornington Road to form Murchison Gardens.
  • We’ll write to residents with details of security arrangements for Carnival.
  • We hope to hold one extra session with the Design Working Group, to talk through how residents’ comments have been incorporated in the Phase 3 proposals, and look at some aspects of the design in more detail. This will be followed by a further public consultation event in October.
  • In Athlone Gardens, excavation of footpaths and formation of landscape will continue for the rest of the section 1 area. The ground for the playground and social areas will be prepared.
  • We will continue to help residents prepare for moves into Bond Mansions, and keep them updated about the progress of the construction.
  • Summer Camp: 40 local children are attending a 4 day back to basics/life skills Summer Camp in Kent, where they will be given the opportunity to embrace every aspect of camp life: from sharing dorms, to scaling climbing towers; developing valuable life skills and building self-esteem, whilst making new friends free from the distractions of a busy urban environment.
  • Notting Hill Carnival: local children are taking part in a range of creative design workshops at Venture Centre, which will enable them to make their own costumes for showcase at Notting Hill Carnival on Sunday 24 August.
  • Both projects form part of Venture Centre’s 4 year Community Programme which is funded by Catalyst.