54-62, 66 And 68 Oxford Street And 51-58 Rathbone Place Our planning objections

25 July, 2020 | Consultations | 1 comment







Application Summary

Address: Proposed Development Site At 54-62, 66 And 68 Oxford Street And 51-58 Rathbone Place, W1
Proposal: Demolition and redevelopment behind retained facades of Nos 54-62 Oxford Street and 51-58 Rathbone Place, including a two storey roof extension and redevelopment of Nos 66 & 68 Oxford Street to provide retail use (A1) and office use (B1) at part basement, part ground and part first floors, and flexible dual use retail (A1) and / or Office (B1) uses on floors two to seven, and associated works. (Linked application – 17/05284/LBC)
Case Officer: Josephine Palmer
Click for further information

Customer Details
Name: Mr Nick Bailey on behalf of Fitzrovia neighbourhood Forum

Comments Details
Commenter Type: Local Group
Stance: Customer objects to the Planning Application
Reasons for comment:
Comments: These comments are submitted in my role as secretary of the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum. This application was discussed at our meeting on 4 July 2017.

We wish to object to the application for the following reasons:

Listed Building
Redevelopment behind the façade of a listed building (grade II). This is an important early work by Percy Adams and Charles Holden and we are concerned that the integrity of the listed building will be lost if redevelopment occurs. This site was designed and has evolved with a series of out-buildings and an internal courtyard in 54-62 Oxford Street which would be lost if redevelopment occurs. This pattern of development is typical of Fitzrovia and enables a variety of businesses to locate in this and similar locations. While the front façade and external appearance will be retained the character of the building and its architectural integrity would be completely lost.
In our view the redevelopment of 66-68 Oxford Street and the insertion of 8 floors above ground level and 4 below ground represents overdevelopment (with a net gain in floorspace of almost 11,000 sq.m.) in relation to the original, human scale of the Hanway Street Conservation Area, as well as degrading the coherence of the listed building.

Loss of 66 Oxford Street
No. 66 Oxford Street is very important in the streetscape of Oxford Street and pre-dates the Holden building. It is also recorded as an ‘unlisted building of merit’ in the Hanway Street Conservation Area Audit and therefore ought to be retained as a whole (and not just the façade).

We note in particular that Historic England say in their evidence that the loss of No. 66 ‘would cause serious harm’.

New Replacement for 66-68 Oxford Street
We particularly object to the 8 storey ‘modern’ development replacing no’s 66 and 68 which we feel bears no relationship to the listed building in terms of overall height, floor heights and window alignment or materials and would be visually intrusive from both east and west perspectives down Oxford Street.

Land Uses
In terms of the proposed uses, we do not object to retail and/or offices in principle but feel that the additional floorspace will introduce a large number of additional visitors and employees which will create further of congestion on surrounding pavements.

The redevelopment will also further reduce the provision for small shops along Oxford Street and accommodation for small businesses which have traditionally occupied buildings on this site and in Fitzrovia as a whole.

Our Neighbourhood Plan will include policies to protect existing floorspace for small business users and to ensure it is replaced in redevelopment proposals.

We welcome the fact that no car parking is provided in the new development and the provision of PV panels on the roof. But why not go further and create a genuinely green roof which could be accessed by shoppers and/or employees?

In our view this application raises important principles about the treatment of listed buildings and buildings of merit in a conservation area. We do not find that the applicants make a convincing case for such radical alteration to a listed building, its setting and the wider conservation area. What value is left in the building after such radical surgery even if the façade appears the same?

In particular we do not feel that an acceptable case has been made in relation to policy S25:

Recognising Westminster’s wider historic environment, its extensive heritage assets will be conserved, including its listed buildings, conservation areas, Westminster’s World Heritage Site, its historic parks including five Royal Parks, squares, gardens and other open spaces, their settings, and its archaeological heritage. Historic and other important buildings should be upgraded sensitively, to improve their environmental performance and make them easily accessible.

While the uses may be appropriate to the West End and Oxford Street, the proposed development replaces many small units with one or a combination of major A1/B1 uses including courtyards for loading and unloading which are of particular value to small business users.

For these reasons the application and LBC should be refused.

1 Comment

  1. Kate Strong

    I agree with the above statements. In particular the lack of green initiatives and consideration for the surroundings, including pavement overcrowding, Fitzrovia businesses and small business units and buildings, steps to mitigate environmental impact if the build and building.