Way back in 2009 Mary Regnier-Leigh, Lady Cleaver, Simon Davie, and myself, decided that it was time for a new Society in Belgravia. This was to be different. Not just an amenity society, but one which would celebrate the history of Belgravia and its unique architecture and gardens, improve the present and to engage with the future. The new Society would be fully involved with the local community, businesses and institutions.
We also decided to create the Society as a charity. This enables us to raise funds from our members and friends in Belgravia for good causes. We can use funds to support local educational projects, sustainability projects and established charities as well. We hope to organize a summer party this year at a profit so that we can make donations.
The Society’s Constitution is based on a precedent from the Charity Commission. The Society is open and transparent and “good governance” are our watchwords when it comes to our organisation.
This year we have had a number of Belgravia residents anxious to join the Society and work as part of our Committee to achieve our objectives, widen our horizons and create ambitious aspirations. To this end we have a bigger Committee. To avoid any question of the Society being run by just one person, we have a Chairman and three Vice Chairman, although one is actually me with special responsibility for the Eaton Square Residents Association (ESRA). Our Committee is shown below and includes our 4 Trustees. This enables us to deal with many more issues and give our members more support.
Although we initially started the Society, charging a subscription, we are not doing so at the moment. We want membership to be free and for donations from the willing to support us when needed. Obviously, we will need to keep this under review, but we do not want a subscription to limit membership. This is a Society for everyone.
We will work to support the Belgravia Forum. This is a new organisation, which will be able to make planning policy for the Forum area. It will have the power to direct use of funds of part of a levy on developers in Belgravia. It is a body created under the Localism Act 2011 for the purpose of preparing a Plan for the area. You can learn more about it using the following link: www.belgraviaforum.org. Do join the Forum. You can do that free via their website.
It might seem that Belgravia does not give much opportunity for development. But it does. The site at Hyde Park Corner (1-5 Grosvenor Place) is to be redeveloped. There is now a consultation. Do go to the exhibition or the website for details and let us know what you think. The website is: www.1-5grosvenorplace.co.uk
In addition Crossrail 2 is coming to South Belgravia. In all likelihood the Coach Station will go to make room for the work together with Ebury Gate (23 Lower Belgrave Street), Z Hotel and the Victoria public House on Lower Belgrave Street and Belgrave House in Buckingham Palace Road. The Belgravia Forum has already responded to the January consultation and we support their response. Our community objective is to minimize the impact on those near the work and everyone who will be over the subterranean work. We will also work with the Belgravia Forum to try to ensure that the noise, dust and dirt, vehicle and plant movement and materials and the actual work causes as little disturbance to our residents and businesses as possible.
There are also many other developments in the area, from minor refurbishments to substantial alterations. All these will be monitored by the Society to make sure we really do improve the present and not stand by when inappropriate development and profit is put above people.
The Belgravia Society is here for all residents and workers in Belgravia, but also available to join by those outside the area who are interested in Belgravia and share our vision and aspirations.
(Founder Member and Trustee)