By News Reporters
A mixed use development of between nine and 11 storeys on the site of the former Middlesex Hospital will block out daylight and bring little benefit to Fitzrovia say residents who have examined proposals currently with Westminster City Council.
The consortium who own the site (Aviva Investors, Exemplar Properties and the former Kaupthing Bank) have submitted plans drawn up by architects Lifeshutz Davidson Sandilands and Sheppard Robson.
At more than twice the height of most of the surrounding buildings, the proposed development will create three blocks of between nine and eleven floors which will be out of place in Fitzrovia’s narrow streets.
The plans include 291 residential units which will take up just under half the floorspace on the site. The remainder of the site will consist of offices, retail, financial and professional services, restaurants, community and health uses, car parking, bicycle storage and plant equipment. There will be publicly accessible open space, the Grade II* listed chapel will be restored, and the Nassau Street frontage and the corner of Mortimer Street frontage will be retained.
Residents living in Cleveland Street are also angry that the entrance and exit to a 193 space car park and a vehicle service bay opposite their homes is proposed in the plans. From this single service bay office, retail, restaurant and community uses will be serviced.
As the Cleveland Street residents are in Camden some of them have suggested that the plans which will be decided upon by Westminster City Council have been designed so to put the greatest bulk of the building and the service yard away from Westminster voters.
Other residents question the need for so many private car parking spaces in this central London location when there are adequate public transport links as well as two future Crossrail stations nearby.
Of the 291 housing units only 54 are affordable, much lower than should be expected on a site of this size. Only 18 family-sized affordable housing units are offered compared with 81 family units for sale on the open market.
Sources have said that the developers will seek to sell many of the private homes as investment properties to overseas buyers. Increasingly overseas buyers are looking to buy property in Fitzrovia as an investment according to estate agents Hudsons.
The developers and architects have argued the proposals are less bulky than those of the previously failed Candy brothers and Make architects scheme and that this new plan provides more open space on the site.
However, residents say the central open space will be gloomy because of the height of the proposed surrounding buildings.
There will be an opportunity for residents to view the plans from 6pm to 8pm, Tuesday 25 October; 10.00 am to 12.30 pm, Saturday 29 October; and 5.30 pm to 7.30pm Tuesday 1 November at the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre, 39 Tottenham Street, London W1T 4RX. The plans are also available to view on line here.
Residents are encouraged to view the plans for this 11 storey building and make their comments to Westminster City Council. Both Westminster and Camden residents can submit comments to Westminster City Council. Camden Council are also seeking residents views on the plans.
Westminster City Council’s planning committee will make a decision on the application early in 2012. Planning officers produced a planning brief in 2005 to ensure an integrated approach to redevelopment of the site which lies in the East Marylebone conservation area.