Plans for the development of a new Cundy Street Quarter in south Belgravia were formally submitted to Westminster City Council on 27 May and have been referred to London Mayor Sadiq Khan as a scheme of potential strategic importance to the city.
This latest stage in the process, which On London has been documenting as a case study of issues raised by regeneration projects, follows Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, which owns the triangular site between Victoria station and Sloane Square, putting its final proposals online for consultation under Covid-19 conditions in April.
Creating the new Quarter will entail the demolition of four blocks of flats for private rent, known as the Cundy Street flats after one of the streets that bounds the site, and another block, Walden House, which Grosvenor leases to Westminster for let to council tenants.
The plans envisage 151 existing flats – 111 for private rent and 40 for social rent – being replaced by 163 new ones plus accommodation for up to 170 people in a separate “senior living” section of the development, along with 17 shops and other amenities, including cafés, restaurants, a cinema and what Grosvenor describe as a “flexible community space”.
Pedestrian routes will be provided through a currently closed-off site, along with some basement car-parking. Improved landscaping and green space is promised and there are also plans to build a new play area in the adjacent Ebury Square.
“Affordable” homes of different kinds will comprise 93 of the dwellings, including replacements for all of Walden House’s secure council tenants, which Grosvenor says will offer more space than the current ones.
Affordable properties will account for 39 per cent of all the dwellings on the site, a proportion that meets the Mayor’s requirement that housing developments that don’t receive funding support from him should provide a minimum 35 per cent “genuinely affordable” homes in order to avoid scrutiny of their finances by City Hall viability analysts and possible rejection by the Mayor.
The Cundy Street Quarter proposals qualify as a “large scale development” under a Town & Country Planning Order issued in 2008, which set out additional “call in powers” for London Mayors. Criteria include the provision of more than 150 dwellings.
The over 250 documents submitted to Westminster by Grosvenor include environmental statements, assessments of local transport provision, floor plans, architectural drawings and viability assessments compiled for them by consultants Quod.
The plans took shape in the context of Grosvenor seeking to address the low levels of trust in property developers and the planning system revealed by a national survey conducted for them by YouGov last year. High profile opposition emerged during the build up to last year’s general election, led by Walden House residents, some of them Labour Party activists, with support from some some of the private flat tenants.
Last September, the council put in writing a pledge to offer a “right to return” to Walden House tenants who wish to live in one of the new social rent dwellings on the site, and in March Grosvenor said all those wanting one would be provided with a “one move” option, meaning they need not live temporarily somewhere else beforehand.
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