“The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has approved plans for a half-billion pound luxury retirement complex that includes just five affordable homes at a time when 11 families who survived the Grenfell Tower fire are still living in hotels 18 months on.
The Conservative controlled council granted consent for the scheme on a prime site in the south of the borough that includes 142 homes, some of which will be let for up to £10,000 a month.
Dubbed “caviar care”, the scheme is designed to appeal to multi-millionaire downsizers and includes three town houses expected to sell for about £12m apiece.
The council and the developer argue that it is allowable under planning rules because the properties are classed as “extra care” homes, regardless of how expensive they are. The sale value of the mostly one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats averages £3.6m each. The developer is also marketing another luxury retirement complex nearby featuring a restaurant serving £250 pots of caviar.
The consent comes amid a growing argument over affordable housing in the capital between the Labour mayor, Sadiq Khan, and the Conservatives. Khan said he was “extremely disappointed” at the amount of affordable housing as part of the retirement development, a factor he said was “unacceptable”.
Khan also attacked the housing secretary, James Brokenshire, for threatening to block a planning application for a separate development in the borough that would have 35% affordable homes. Brokenshire countered by accusing Khan of failing to tackle the housing crisis, saying he “simply doesn’t understand how the housing market works”. ”