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Grade II*-listed chapel in Kensington under threat

The Victorian Society is strongly objecting to an application to convert an important Grade II*–listed chapel into a single luxury home.

The Victorian Society is strongly objecting to an application to convert the important Grade II*–listed St Luke’s Chapel, in Rose Square, Fulham Road, into a single luxury home. The Society urges the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to refuse consent for a scheme that would cause serious harm to this exceptionally important building. Instead of allowing the conversion, the Council should consider alternative uses, including an adjacent church’s request to use the chapel. This would allow the building to be used for the purpose for which it was designed and maintain public access to the work of two of the most notable church architects of the nineteenth century.

St Luke’s Chapel is a very important building which fully justifies its Grade II* listing. The chapel was built by EB Lamb in 1849-50 to serve Brompton Hospital, and then enlarged by William White in 1891-92. The gothic revival chapel has been little altered since 1900 and contains a complete Victorian interior with integral fittings of the highest quality. Redevelopment of the chapel into a home would see the removal of nearly all of these important fittings such as the organ, altar, choir stalls, pulpit, pews and font. The Victorian Society shares the view of the Council’s Design & Conservation Officer that removal of the fittings would “cause irreversible and substantial harm to the building”. 

Victorian Society Conservation Advisor, James Hughes, said:

“Substantial harm to a Grade II* listed building such as St Luke’s should be only be permitted in ‘wholly exceptional’ circumstances. Such circumstances do not exist here. Listed building legislation gives the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea the powers and the duty to protect the public interest in the conservation of the very important historic interior of this Grade II*-listed building.”

Kensington and Chelsea Council is yet to set a date to determine the application.

Tuesday 2 September, 2014

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