Notting Hill Gate Set For Makeover

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 117 months ago
Notting Hill Gate Set For Makeover

Image by aletarri
There's fun to be had chillaxing around Notting Hill Gate and watching the confused look on tourists faces who, having arrived in London and headed to the first station with "Notting" in the title, are confronted not by Hugh and a twee bookshop but a three-way traffic nightmare and a pair of grey concrete blocks.

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?

Last Updated 04 April 2009