Portobello Square: you’re loving it!


‘I love it, I love it! I love everything about it exclaimed Stella Toddington when asked about her new home at Portobello Square in Kensington.

Stella is the first resident to move back to the redeveloped area following the regeneration of the Wornington Green estate. She’s moved to the first building to be completed on Bonchurch Road and she couldn’t be more complementary about her new two bedroom home which she describes as ‘perfect’.

Ian Williams, Catalyst’s chair of the Kensington and Chelsea Local Board, decided to visit the new homes to see for himself what all the fuss was about. Seeing was certainly believing as Ian’s views about the new homes echoed that of Stella’s. ‘Building homes to an excellent standard is what Catalyst is about. That’s exactly what we’ve done here. These homes are fantastic’ he says. Ian also got the chance to speak to Stella where she loudly and proudly praised her new home.

But one thing that isn’t so loud is the noise from outside. The insulation in Stella’s new flat is so good that once the doors and windows are shut all the outside noise is shut out too. Stella says: ‘It’s ever so quiet in my flat – you can’t hear a thing. One lady said to me in the street “Why didn’t you answer when I was calling you from the balcony?” I told her you can’t hear a thing from outside.’

So far 28 households have moved to Portobello Square. Catalyst has planned each move with care so no one is housed on an empty floor or left isolated. We’ve also worked with residents throughout the regeneration so they can have a say on what their homes will look like – after all they’re the ones who’ll be living there.

This was no different in Stella’s case who chose many things in her new home. ‘Catalyst was really good in letting me decide what I could have, from the floor to the kitchen units. I even picked the curtains. The little touches made me feel like it really was my home!’ she points out.

Has the regeneration and building work been worth it? It’s a ‘yes’ from both Stella and Ian. ‘You can see the physical difference in me. Everyone who sees me says I look much better now’ says Stella with a massive smile on her face. Ian’s answer focuses more on the area. ‘It looks much different now – it’s so bright and full of energy. I can’t wait to see the area once the regeneration has finished’ says Ian.

Building better homes

The regeneration of Wornington Green involves building 538 quality affordable homes of mixed sizes and 20 new retail units for Portobello Road – generating up to 200 new jobs. A connecting road will be constructed to better integrate the estate into the surrounding community and a new community centre will be built.

Catalyst is also regenerating neighbourhoods at Church End (Brent) Dee Park (Reading), Havelock (Southall), Mill Farm Close (Harrow) and South Acton. For more details visit the regeneration section of our website.