Planning News - July 2017
The Belgravia Society welcomes the new Senior Planning Officer for Knightsbridge & Belgravia, Caroline Lara
On the back of Ward Budget funding from the Councillors of the Knightsbridge and Belgravia Ward, Caroline Lara recently commenced her new role as a Senior Planning Officer in the Planning Enforcement Team, undertaking the monitoring of domestic basement extensions and other general planning enforcement work in the Ward.
It is Caroline's responsibility to ensure that development and in particular, basement extensions in domestic properties the subject of planning permission, are monitored to ensure that the works proceed in accordance with approved plans.
Caroline is also responsible for ensuring that conditions imposed on basement development in domestic properties are discharged within the requisite timescales, and that the requirements of the conditions are complied with.
Caroline is currently enjoying the challenge and look forward to meeting and assisting members of the Belgravia Society with any planning related issues.
Should any members wish to raise a particular issue with Caroline, she can be contacted on 0207 641 2073 or email at
Senior Planning Officer (Knightsbridge & Belgravia)
Planning Enforcement Team
Growth, Planning and Housing
PO Box 732, Redhill, RH1 9FL
Tel: 020 7641 2073
Update - Posted January 2018
Following the completion of the first phase of activities on site, I am emailing to update you on the completed demolition work, and invite you to our next Community Liaison Meeting.
The main demolition of the rear stable block, including sensitive demolition where the stable block met the existing listed building, was completed before Christmas.
The next phase of works will entail piling and basement excavation. We would like to explain these works, the proposed methodology and sequencing at to you at a liaison meeting on Tuesday 16th January 2018, at The Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge, at 6.30pm.
by Alexander Nicholson, Account director - Four Public Affairs
Planning News 2018
Peninsula Hotel (1-5 Grosvenor Place)
posted 11th January 2018
from Paving the Way newsletter
Last month, we reported about the speed of the demolition of the old office blocks on the site for the new Peninsular Hotel complex. This month we report on the Construction Process
starting in 2018
The Construction Liaison Group met on 6th December for the update on the project. The Project Director confirmed that in the Autumn of 2018 four cranes will be on site and the four principal cores will be constructed. We were shown the cross-section of the "top-down" construction process. In the winter of 2018, there will be a one-way system of traffic in operation and it was confirmed vehicle movement will be arranged in agreement with Westminster City Council. Cladding will commence in late 2018. By the spring of 2019, most of the superstructure will be complete and the basement will have progressed. Last month I think we misled you in suggesting because of the "top-down" construction system you would see the finish in a few months. We should have said you will see the finish a few months earlier than originally thought. In fact, during the meeting, it was clarified that the time-saving should be 6 to 12 months and this covers the worst part of the construction as far as neighbours might be concerned, in terms of noise traffic etc. The basement works will continue but should be quieter because they are underground and encased in a concrete box.
We understand there was a ground-breaking ceremony, which included the Duke of Westminster, the chairman and directors of Hong Kong Shanghai Hotels, the Lord Mayor of Westminster, executives from Grosvenor and senior members of the project team.
In answer to our questions about how many bedrooms the hotel will have we were advised 189 rooms. The residential units will be between 24 - 28 the optimum design being 26.
The next Construction Liaison Group meet ing is due in March 2018. Meanwhile, the key dates are the south side staircase (Grosvenor Crescent end) leading to the subway will be permanently closed for some time now. In early 2018 site accommodation in a gantry above Grosvenor Place will be erected. In January the ground excavation works will commence. The project seems well on its way and we will keep you informed.
A freephone telephone number is available for general enquiries:
0800 304 7356
and a contact email is:
The background photograph supplied courtesy of Prime Development
and extracted from their newsletter
Chelsea Barracks was a British Army barracks located in the City of Westminster, London, adjacent to Chelsea and Belgravia, on Chelsea Bridge Road. Today, Chelsea barracks is owned by Project Blue Ltd and is the flagship London development of Qatari Diar, a subsidiary of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
Read more here
Planning News - As seen in Paving the way
May 2017 newsletter
We attended the usual meeting with the Community Construction Group,
on 18th May with Mace
They reported the progress of the work. More fenestration is being fitted and the internal work is moving through the various phases approaching completion. We received a presentation by the contractor who was responsible for the repairs and renovations to the Chapel. Once the future of the chapel is determined, a new contract will be let to do what work is then necessary to the interior.
Mace, were totally unable to give us any information about the future of the Chapel. This was the main Contractor, entirely for the separate community meeting, for which no date has been given. There are rumours relating to the future of the Chapel and who is now responsible, but nothing definite. We were told that there was likely to be a meeting in June. We asked the representative of QD (who was supervising in relation to the building work only) to take the message back that we are extremely disappointed and concerned that there have been no consultations about the future of the Chapel. We were assured by both QD representative and Mace that they would take the message back.
The rest of the meeting was particularly interesting as the archaeologists who had been excavating the site were able to tell us more about its history. Earlier excavations had not found anything significant. The 2015 excavation did find foundations believed to be from the early barracks. They also found various culverts. In the recent dig, they found there had been changes in the landscape which had taken place between 20,000 to 30,000 years ago for part of the site; and 10,000 to 15,000 years ago for other changes which had affected the Westbourne River. The river had once been a feature of the site but eventually was covered in a culvert and has now been lost altogether.
Current thinking is that there were lakes and terraces and landscaping around Ranelagh House on the site. There had also been public gardens
Flint heads had been found as well and there was evidence that there may have been people on the site in the early Bronze Age or even earlier in neo-lithic times or perhaps earlier still. A great deal of analysis work is still to be done on the finds.
Amongst the things found were broken pipes, toys, an Irish half sovereign and lead and brass tokens. There are also many broken clay pipes. Most of these will have been left there in the times of the public gardens. We eagerly anticipate more information. We are pleased to show some photographs of finds
Westminster City Council has been conducting consultations in relation to building height and how we should accommodate growth within the borough of Westminster
WCC recently held a meeting for developers and a separate meeting for amenity societies at Westminster Hall, both chaired by Councillor Daniel Astaire, Cabinet member for planning and public realm. We attended the meeting and produced a lengthy response.
Westminster is projected to grow from 226,000 to 262,000 by 2036. This would involve 21,000 new homes and enough floor space to accommodate 77,000 jobs. WCC background information stated that significant office space has been lost to housing since 2005. However, only in the last year we have lost the offices at 33 Grosvenor Pl, not to housing but a private hospital. Planning permission was granted for the office buildings at 1 to 5 Grosvenor Pl, principally not for housing but a hotel, incorporating approximately 20+ luxury flats.
Although there will be some people working in these new buildings, they will not represent the numbers who worked there previously. Our estimates are that between 2000 – 3000 jobs space has been lost. In addition, if Crossrail 2 goes ahead the office space at Belgrave House will lose a further 2000 jobs. Altogether this represents almost 10% of the projected growth!
We do not know how the figures were prepared but we wish them to be validated and updated regularly first, especially as circumstances continue to change. Further, we believe there is a point at which no further growth as appropriate. With the development of enhanced transport facilities, building opportunities should be assigned to outer London boroughs to ensure that growth is shared to provide housing and work there.
We were very impressed to hear that the Crown had increased usable floor space within its state of some 60%. The consultation was concentrating on building or raising heights to accommodate growth.
Our view is that changing Westminster by building tall buildings in virtually any part of it, would damage the heritage and character of the city. Some 75% is conservation area. While there might be a case for an exception, our view is that there should be a policy of no tall buildings in Westminster.
To achieve additional floor space we have recommended a full audit of buildings and land in the area; to find suitable ones providing more floor space. Given the efforts of the Crown, we feel confident that extra floor space can be found. Tall buildings are not energy efficient and are high maintenance, spoil the skyline and pile as many people as possible on floor after floor without any possibility of creating a community. By reason of their size and adverse visual impact that changes the character of a neighbourhood, mass over their surroundings and are out of scale and character with Westminster.
Within the parameters of buildings being suitable, we agree that some additional floors may be constructed on existing property. This would only be with care and attention to ensure suitability of the area and the buildings around it to such development.
As a Society whose raison d’être is
“to celebrate the past, to improve the present and engage the future”, we are convinced that the conclusions we have reached, would enable Westminster
to deliver the changes to the city, enhancing and respecting our heritage, as well as growing to meet the needs of the population and workers
In Autumn 2007 The Maybourne Hotel Group secured planning consent from Westminster City Council for this site. This site is currently under construction and will provide much-needed improved facilities and new rooms and suites for The Berkeley hotel, alongside residential use
However, in the intervening time it has become necessary to revisit the consented proposals, and The Maybourne Hotel Group are currently preparing a new application for amendments to the consent for this site. The new proposals are largely in line with the existing consent, though a more contextual design and additional improvements to the servicing arrangements are proposed.
If you have any questions and would like a separate briefing please do contact Alexander Nicholson, from Four Communications, on 020 3697 4385 or via email at
Travis Perkins – update
We understand that the judicial review
is listed for hearing in the High Court on 31 October 2017
We will keep you informed of any news
33 Grosvenor Place (Cleveland Clinic)
We attended the Community Liaison Group Committee on fourth May
We met James Hamilton who was the Project Manager recently appointed and whose company is designing and managing the project. He clearly was new to the development and was
not fully informed yet.
The project is due to complete in mid-2020. Demolition will start in 2 to 3 weeks’ time and it will take 66 weeks. This involves the demolition of the interior only. Initially there will be two cranes contained within the footprint of the building. The building will be wrapped. There will be two hour noise breaks and no noisy work on a Saturday. There will be strictly no idling policy for deliveries (except cement). There will be 24 hour monitoring of dust et cetera and noise and vibrations.
Slab demolition will take about 12 weeks. We expect to have slides sent to us when we receive the minutes of the meeting.
We reminded the Project Manager of the promises made to the community with regard to minimising problems in connection with demolition and also the provision long-term security and traffic/parking management – even after the project is completed. There will be more meetings every 6 to 8 weeks and newsletters will be printed as well.
Posted from late November Newsleter 2017
We have to report, sadly, that the application for Judicial Review to quash the Planning Consent given to Grosvenor did not succeed.
We are able to tell you that we have read the Judgement and Travis Perkins will be appealing against the outcome. We would also mention that The Belgravia Society's objections were referred to in Court and mentioned three times in the actual Judgement.
We will do what we can to assist Travis Perkins even at this late stage to try to save Newson's Yard and the alterations to the shop fronts
"A new initiative for the “Meccano Building"
The building, which is actually 123-156 Buckingham Palace Road has now come into a single ownership of Gaw Capital. This is a Chinese family company
Gaw Capital now propose to put two and a half floors on top of the building set back using the same grid design. WCC is keen to retain the Colonnade. The plan includes repainting the white external metal work to dark grey.
The shops will be altered to provide larger and better units and the Colonnade roof will be removed leaving the columns as an architectural feature. The archway access from the rear entrance in Eccleston Street will be removed and will become more open and inviting. The completed development will deliver prospects of uabout 760 new jobs.
The Belgravia Society have seen plans and detailed drawings. The new ground floor along the Colonnade should provide a very pleasant area in which to walk and shop. In our discussions, we highlighted potential antisocial behaviour and feel confident that the designers will take account of this. We will also wish to ensure that there are no alcohol licenses granted outside core hours.
Although the building will be higher it will not be significantly taller than the surrounding buildings and should not create any adverse overlooking. Residents should expect a pleasurable shopping experience. The illustrations are proposals and subject to change, but they do give you an idea of what the development will look like.
Subject to the usual planning caveats, on first sight this scheme seems acceptable. It is expected that an application for planning permission
will be submitted in August
55 - 91 Knightsbridge - Update
Posted - 19th January 2018
Please be aware that works will be taking place this Saturday during the permitted working hours, which are 0800-1300.
Activities will involve excavation and the construction of a guide wall. This will take place by the site entrance, at the western end of the site.
Please do let me know if you have any questions – the next community liaison group meeting will be held on 3oth January, at 6.30pm at the Park Tower Knightsbridge.
The demolition of the building behind the retained Knightsbridge facades is now complete, with the building
demolished down to the existing basements, the site levelled, and the two tower cranes removed. As the
demolition phase has been completed, Skanska, who were the main contractors, have handed over to Blue Sky Building,
Who will manage the site throughout the next phase?
Activities for the next phase will include the installation of piles around the site. Piling on the north (Knightsbridge) side of the site will commence in mid-November, with piling on the southern (Duplex Ride) side of the site to take place in the New Year. All piling is expect ed to be completed by the end of March 2018
- Basement excavation Q2 2018? Q4 2018
- Superstructure construction
Q1 2019 - Q3 2019
- Internal fit out Q2 2019 - Q1 2020
Please be aware that any contact details you
may have for Skanska site managers are
now out of date.
However, the first point of contact for t his
the site remains:
Alexander Nicholson - 020 3697 4385
Senior account manager - Four Public Affairs