By News Reporters
Great Portland Estates (GPE) will next week reveal outline plans to redevelop the Royal Mail delivery centre between Rathbone Place and Newman Street to create a mixed-use development of retail, office and residential on the 2.3 acre site to the north of Oxford Street.
The plans will also include proposals to create affordable housing off-site at Mortimer Street and Great Portland Street.
A public exhibition starting Monday will reveal outline plans by Make Architects for a mixed-use development of retail, office, residential, a restaurant, and new pedestrian streets linking Newman Street to Rathbone Place, built around a new green open space with mature trees. The site will be publicly accessible but will be privately managed and closed at night.
The exhibition will be in a venue on the Rathbone Place site which can be entered from Newman Street and will be open from Monday 15 April to Friday 19 April from 3pm to 7pm; and on Saturday 20 April from 10am to 1pm.
In the summer GPE will submit a planning application to Westminster Council to be considered for approval. If approved construction work will start in early 2014.
GPE acquired the land in September 2011 for £120m from Royal Mail Group.
Royal Mail are transferring mail delivery operations for the W1 area from Rathbone Place to the Central London Delivery Office at Mount Pleasant. Customers using the enquiry office at Rathbone Place will be in future served by a new office in Fitzrovia at Hanson Street, as we previously reported.
The Rathbone Place redevelopment will mean yet another large construction site in Fitzrovia which already has sites at Fitzroy Place, Howland Street and Ogle Street. And later this year GPE rivals Derwent London are due to start redevelopment work in nearby Charlotte Street on both the Saatchi & Saatchi building and the Margaret Pyke Centre.
Residents and people employed in Fitzrovia will continue to be disturbed by more heavy construction traffic wending their way through the neighbourhood’s narrow streets.
Concern about the safety of cyclists has been raised by the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association at a time when many cycling facilities have been introduced in the area but where Mortimer Street and Cleveland Street has suffered from damage to the road surface causing cyclists to take extra care. Sir Robert McAlpine have a safety team to supervise traffic movements at Fitzroy Place and a spokesperson has told Fitzrovia News that drivers of lorries approaching and leaving the site will be told to be mindful of cyclists.
In Howland Street part of a segregated cycle lane has been removed to allow building work at UCL’s new research centre, something which will concern staff and students in the wake of the death of Katherine Giles who was killed by a left-turning lorry in central London.
Construction engineers working at Fitzroy Place are also running behind schedule with the work after problems getting an adequate supply of concrete. Westminster Council has given permission to do limited work including off-loading vehicles up to 8pm from Monday to Friday in order to catch up lost construction hours.
Local residents groups will be pressing Westminster City Council for community benefit from the new development at Rathbone Place.