1,000 signatures reached
To: The Rt Hon. Sajid Javid MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Stop the Paddington Cube – historic London townscape under unprecedented threat
Stop the proposed 19 storey mega block known as the Paddington Cube and the destruction of a key historic building in a key London conservation area. The massive scale of this square office tower would be a blot on the capital – substantially imposing itself over its immediate neighbours – including Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s grade I listed Paddington Station. Conservation area status should offer protection against such harmful development. This proposal sets a dangerous precedent – and sends out the message that London is trashing its conservation areas.
Why is this important?
The developer Sellar Property Group has received planning consent to demolish the Baroque Edwardian former Royal Mail sorting office in a conservation area, and build a 19 storey replacement office tower totally out of keeping with the surrounding buildings.
The former sorting office, built in 1907, is an unlisted building of merit. Its loss will be hugely detrimental to the conservation area and the surrounding listed buildings.
The proposed design of the replacement mega block does not respect Westminster’s scale and character - it removes a building with architectural interest and history and replaces it with something over dominant on a massive scale. At the planning committee meeting on 6 December Westminster Councillors acknowledged that the plans would cause harm to the conservation area yet still approved the demolition of the sorting office and the new 19 storey tower.
The planning committee also waived aside a strong objection from the London Ambulance Service on the grounds that the proposals badly affected the major ambulance route to St Mary’s Hospital. Though a last minute alternative was proposed by the developer, the NHS is maintaining its objection.
This case has triggered national interest. The amenity societies have made substantial objections, and there were many individual objections. SAVE along with Historic England, The Victorian Society and many others considers that this sensitive site deserves a better quality development – one that respects the townscape and retains the most significant parts of the historic building - rather than obliterating it.
Westminster City Council – a central London borough brimming with important buildings and areas - used to be a model for enlightened planning, conservation and design policies. This proposal fails on all these accounts.
We call on the Secretary of State to call-in this application for his own determination allowing it to be examined in the open forum of a public inquiry. Historic buildings and areas are assets for everyone to enjoy, and should be celebrated as such. Britain is respected worldwide for its sensitive approach to historic buildings - this scheme must go back to the drawing board.
For more information and images see our press release here: http://www.savebritainsheritage.org/campaigns/article/421/Press-release-SAVE-Britains-Heritage-blasts-outrageously-and-gratuitously-overscaled-Paddington-Cube
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