By News Reporters
Great Portland Estates have submitted plans to create homes, offices, shops and restaurants on the site of Royal Mail delivery centre in Rathbone Place. The mixed-use scheme designed by Make Architects which includes a new publicly accessible space will be considered by Westminster Council after a period of public consultation which is currently taking place.
This will be one of the largest developments in Fitzrovia in recent years containing around 33,000 square metres of office floorspace, 5,700 square metres of restaurants and shops, in buildings rising to nine storeys plus basements situated around a central green space. The new buildings will have frontages on Rathbone Place and Newman Street and will feature new covered and uncovered pedestrian routes connecting the two streets through the site. The walkways and green space although publicly accessible will be locked overnight.
To comply with Westminster’s planning requirements the development will have both car and cycle parking, entered and exited from Newman Street.
The scheme will contain a mix of 162 private and affordable housing units on site, as well as 18 affordable homes off-site in Mortimer Street and Great Portland Street. The inclusion of the off site housing brings the amount of affordable housing in total to 17.1 percent of the net additional floorspace, some way short of Westminster Council’s target of 25 percent. Great Portland Estates say this ratio of private to affordable housing is supported by a financial viability assessment.
The offsite affordable housing also means there is a change of use from small office space at 88 Great Portland Street and a change from private-rented to social-rented at Mortimer Street. While the scheme increases large office provision and high-end private housing there is a loss of cheaper office and private residential.
Great Portland Estates are anticipating the plans going to Westminster’s planning committee in September this year. If approved, demolition will start in February 2014 with completion of building works by July 2016.
Royal Mail’s operations at Rathbone Place are being relocation to Mount Pleasant while the customer services for the West End have already moved to Hanson Street.
Meanwhile, 18 metres beneath the site, the Mail Rail platform (opened in August 1965 and closed in 2003) will be retained and is not included in the redevelopment plans.
The planning application can be viewed on Westminster Council’s site and Great Portland Estates site. The plans are also available to view at the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association‘s offices at 39 Tottenham Street, W1T 4RX from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesday 18 June.