Plans to redevelop the King’s Road Cineworld have been thrown out because the developer failed to provide sufficient funding for affordable housing.
The Chelsea cinema was set to be replaced by a smaller £15 million art house Everyman cinema with sofas and a wine bar, as well as 11 flats, two retail units and a basement car park.
The four-storey block was to open in autumn 2015 but at the end of June, government planning inspector Jessica Graham, put a stop to the whole plan as she decided the developers, Ilona House Securities Ltd, were a long way short of the ‘maximum reasonable amount’ which could be contributed towards affordable housing.
At a meeting of the planning inspectorate, representatives from the developer, said they would pay up to £200,000 towards social housing but the council argued they could pay over £1 million.
The planning inspector agreed with the council that some of the main assumptions in the developer’s financial viability statement were wrongly balanced in favour of reducing funding available for affordable housing, including land valuations and interest rates.
Michael Bach from The Chelsea Society, said: “The developers claimed they couldn’t afford to provide more for affordable housing but the inspectorate didn’t agree. The problem is developers are trying to squeeze more housing in and not what people actually want.
“Each time we get someone wanting to redevelop a cinema, it gets smaller and that has already happened with this Cineworld with the Tesco.”
Timothy Coleridge, the council’s planning policy boss, added: “This decision supports the council’s rigorous approach. Developers should be clear that we will leave no stone unturned to make sure we get as much affordable housing as we can as part of new developments.”