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Appeal to Mayor to save Piccadilly buildings from demolition

The Victorian Society has written to urge Boris Johnson to overrule a planning decision which allows for the demolition of eight historic buildings in the heart of London.

Last week members of the planning committee at Westminster Council approved a £50 million scheme to redevelop parts of Piccadilly and Jermyn Street, despite it being recommended for refusal by the council's own planning officer.

The controversial scheme, known as St James's Gateway, allows for the demolition of three buildings on Piccadilly, three on Jermyn Street and two on Eagle Place.

'All eight buildings lie inside the St James' Conservation Area, which should have afforded them some protection', said Heloise Brown, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'Westminster's planning officer will have recommended permission be refused because the scheme falls short of planning guidelines, the fact that the committee overruled his recommendation is very worrying'.

The Victorian Society hopes to persuade the Mayor that current proposal is unnecessarily damaging and unsustainable. If it is given final approval the Society will consider whether to ask the Secretary of State to call the application in to be decided at a public inquiry.

Which buildings are under threat?

The three buildings on Piccadilly threatened with demolition are 212, 213 and 214. 214 and 213 were built in the 1860s. 212 Piccadilly was built in 1872-3 for the National Provincial Bank and designed by John Gibson, a leading bank architect of the 19th Century.

Under the plans 210-211 Piccadilly (architect unknown) will have its facade dismantled and the building rebuilt altering floor levels.

18, 19, 20 and 21 Jermyn Street will be retained. But 21a, 22 and 23 Jermyn Street, along with 3-4 Eagle Place will be demolished. These, like all the buildings above lie in the St James' Conservation Area.

A Grade-II listed building at 27 Regent Street will be converted and refurbished as part of the plans. 




Monday 24 August, 2009

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