No Demolition!

Planning Application Ref PP/19/05043. (49 Cheyne Place, London SW3 4HL)

The Chelsea Society strongly objects to this  application for development in the Royal Hospital Conservation Area.  The building is on Royal Hospital Road, opposite Tesco, and on the corner of Tite St. This is a huge and very harmful proposal.

  1. The proposal is to demolish the entirety of the building and re-construct on a similar or identical footprint, and with similar or identical elevations.
  2. The existing building is in a Georgian style, albeit a 20th century construction. It is a handsome and mature  building with a magnificent wisteria adorning the south elevation. If this application were granted the developers would also be free to build a massive triple-basement, which had been approved before the basement-policy changed. The basements would extend almost one and a half times down as the house is high.    It is not derelict or in any sufficient disrepair to warrant demolition.
  3. It is inappropriate and against policy CL3  to demolish a perfectly good building  in a Conservation Area, and replace it after huge disruption with an identical or near identical copy of the original.  POLICY CL3 says that the Council will “resist substantial demolition in conservation areas unless it can be demonstrated that:
    i. in the case of substantial harm or loss to the significance of a heritage asset it is necessary to achieve substantial public benefits that outweigh that harm or loss;
    ii. in the case of less than substantial harm to the significance of a heritage asset, that the public benefits, including securing the optimum viable use, outweigh that harm;
    iii. the building or part of the building or structure makes no positive contribution to the character or appearance of the area;

We do not see how this application can possibly comply with this important policy.  There would be no public benefit.

4. The proposal would cause serious disruption and nuisance to the direct neighbours, and other local residents and traffic flow. It is seriously doubted that an adequate CMP and CTMP could be agreed for such major works. The front elevation is on Royal Hospital Rd/Cheyne Place with a zebra crossing directly outside the premises, and the eastern elevation is on Tite St. which has parking on both sides of the road allowing a useable road width for only one car to drive in the road at any time.  The Chelsea Society would object to the closure for an extended period of Tite St, and /or the suspension of the zebra crossing which is the only safe crossing at this point on this busy road which is used by buses and coaches to and from Victoria coach station. It is the only safe access from the north side of Cheyne place/Royal Hospital Road to the shops and restaurants, the Royal Hospital, and the National Army Museum, on the south side of the road.

5. This application is currently listed for decision by officers, but if officers were minded to grant permission it is such an important application that it should be decided by Committee.  There are a large number of objections.

Members of the Society are invited to write to the Director of Planning at RBKC, and to Royal Hospital Ward Councillors,  to express their own views.

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