By News Reporters
Residents and businesses around Hanway Street are worried about a planning application recently made to Westminster Council for the demolition of parts of 26 – 44 Oxford Street and permission to build a new seven storey building backing on to Hanway Street.
They fear the negative impact on the close community of small businesses and an overdevelopment in such a small street.
Jeremy Thomas of the Recorded Picture Company fears another two years’ noise pollution and disruption after the works on the Primark store which only finished earlier this year.
“My business suffered during the last development, we endured two years of intolerable disturbance,” he said.
“Our tiny street was used to service all works. As a consequence we suffered continuous noise and dust pollution, limited access and sometimes full closure to our street causing total disruption. We lost staff. Dust carts could not gain entry, rubbish piled up and vermin abounded. We had to put up with aggressive and unsympathetic workers for two years. No one would help us despite paying incredibly high business rates for years. Hanway Street is a conservation area. This tiny working street is the sole access for all demolition and construction. If the developers are given the go ahead we need an enforceable commitment that the street will not be closed. Our access needs to be maintained. It could ultimately force businesses, small independent shops and restaurants to close in a time of recession,” he told Fitzrovia News.
Tim Derbyshire runs “On The Beat” records at number 22 , one of the last independent record shops in London. “Hanway Street cannot withstand any more pressures or setbacks,” he said. “I was nearly driven out of the street and out of business by the demolition of the Virgin Megastore interior and the construction of the Primark store.
“I lost business and passing trade because the street was continually blocked, closed, rubbish strewn, smelly and rat infested. The site workmen were rude and obstructive.
“Despite paying high rates we were never compensated in any way for the losses to our business. We have only just returned to normal and now it all starts again
“My livelihood and health are at stake. This development is likely to finally kill off Hanway Street which it so nearly did recently.”
Camden Council’s planning committee have been asked by Westminster Council to give their views on the development as the site runs along the borough boundary. Camden’s planners are recommending objection to Oriana’s Oxford Street and Hanway Street redevelopment. In a report which Camden’s planners will respond to on Thursday officers are recommending the development control committee object to the proposals
It is acknowledged that the proposed development would increase the vitality and improve the appearance of this part of Oxford Street however; officers are concerned that the proposal could adversely impact on the character of Hanway Street which forms an integral part of its designation as a Conservation Area.
Objection is raised on this basis. The Council would encourage revisions to the development to include the provision of smaller shop units for independent retail
occupiers onto Hanway Street which would conform to the organic secluded quality of the conservation area.
The proposal would potentially have a significant impact on the highway network in terms of servicing and construction. The Council is not satisfied that this impact has
been fully investigated and the possible impacts upon traffic flow, congestion and safety have not been addressed with appropriate mitigation measures.
Westminster Council will make a decision on the planning application in early 2013.
Last year plans for a new Primark Store raised the concerns of local people and attracted wider concern. Despite objections planning permission was given by both Camden and Westminster councils and a new service entrance was created in Hanway Street where large lorries make deliveries.