Tim Coleridge, the council’s cabinet member for planning policy, said that adding the area to Crossrail, which is due to open as the Elizabeth line in central London in 2018, would have a transformative effect on what is currently the most affordable area in the borough.
The Government and Transport for London have repeatedly declined to pay for a new station, which the council says would reduce journey times from North Kensington to central London by 20 minutes.
Council officers are in talks with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s and property developer Ballymore — the main owners of the Kensal Gasworks land off Ladbroke Grove earmarked for the new station — about the future of the site, which is due to be decommissioned by the National Grid by next year.
New homes along the Elizabeth Line
New homes along the Elizabeth Line
1/8 Tottenham Court Road station
All the new stations on the forthcoming Elizabeth line have been designed by renowned architects to reflect the heritage and character of their local areas, and several qualify as architectural showstoppers in their own right.
2/8 Farringdon station
Farringdon station is inspired by the Brutalist architecture of the Barbican yet will have lighter design elements reflecting the intricate craftsmanship of the nearby Hatton Garden jewellery quarter.
3/8 Canary Wharf station
The spectacular new Canary Wharf station has a striking timber lattice roof structure which shelters a 310-metre-long park, below which are six levels of shops, restaurants and cafés.
4/8 Southall station
Trains to Bond Street will take 17 minutes from here - alluring for lower-budget first-time buyers and renters who want quick West End connections.
5/8 Southall Waterside
A disused gas works occupying 88 acres of land alongside Grand Union Canal is being transformed into 3,750-home Southall Waterside. The first phase of apartments includes private courtyard gardens, and a gym.
6/8 Woolwich Arsenal station
Once a walled-off munitions factory where a 5,000-home neighbourhood is evolving, the new station entrance opens on to Dial Arch Square, a new green space flanked by prized listed buildings and classy new apartment blocks.
7/8 Pavilion Square, Woolwich Arsenal
Homes in these waterfront towers cost from £440,000, rising to more than £1,395,000 for duplexes and penthouses, while a phase called Pavilion Square includes two Georgian warehouses converted into flats priced from £460,000. Call 020 8331 7130.
8/8 Pavilion Square, Woolwich Arsenal
More than 2,000 people have already moved to this mini-district which also has various shops and eateries — galleries, museums and a children’s nursery too — in historic buildings such as The Guard House.
“We want to develop the Kensal Gasworks with 4,500 new homes,” said Coleridge. “A station would be extremely expensive, we are talking about a nine-figure sum, but ... [when the development happens] ... we could afford to pay for the station ourselves out of the planning gain.”
The “planning gain” he refers to is the hefty payment a developer would make to local authorities as a condition of receiving planning permission. This money can then be spent on local improvements including education, open spaces — and transport links.
The new station is provisionally named Portobello Crossrail and would be built just off Barlby Road, close to the northern end of Portobello Road. It would be what is known as a “skip stop” station, with about four services an hour linking into the main Crossrail line, providing fast links to central London and the City.
Crossrail will be fully up and running in 2019 but Coleridge said the Portobello link would not open until several years later.
Ballymore would not comment on the plans, but Sainsbury’s confirmed it was discussing the project with the council, although a spokesman added that it was “too early to speculate” on the detail of its vision for the future of the site.
If Crossrail does come to North Kensington it would almost certainly mean a huge boost to local property prices.
At present it is the most affordable section of Kensington & Chelsea with average prices standing at £722,000, according to Rightmove. The average price in neighbouring Notting Hill is more than £1.4 million.
Paul Harris, branch manager of Greene & Co estate agents, said the station would be a “godsend” to commuters. “It is a much-needed piece of transport for people who work in the City,” he said. “It will absolutely make a difference to house prices.”