Image by aletarri
Kensington & Chelsea council have decided, however, to ruin this game forever with a metropolitan makeover for the Gate and its surroundings. They commissioned a report by developers urbanintiatives, and charged them to deliver a "town centre framework". The resultant recommendations focus on the area's "bohemian legacy", which involves a "reinvention" of the Gate with artists studios, workshop areas and small shops, alongside widening the pavements and creating a public square. They've cited Marylebone High Street as an idea of what they want to create.
An ambitious scheme, and one that for now is only a pipe dream, but does Notting Hill Gate need it? Part of London's charm is the clash of styles that can be found even within the same postcode. For many this supposed eyesore of an intersection is a welcome dose of functional reality in a neighbourhood of wealth, aspiration and frivolity. The Gate's soulless nadir is just streets away from the posh boutiques of Portobello; do we really need another bead shop or Zen karma workout hub taking over the more utilitarian businesses currently clustered around the tube station?