Registered charity 276264

Marks & Spencer Building

The Chelsea Society has objected to this Application as follows:

Application number: PP/21/01425
Site Address: 81-103 (odd) King’s Road, LONDON, SW3 4NX
Proposal: Demolition of existing building and redevelopment for new building up
to five storeys (Use Class E); basement excavation works; creation
of a courtyard area at ground and lower ground levels; roof terraces;
landscaping works; installation of plant; and associated works.
Comment received: PLANNING APPLICATION PP/21/01425 81 – 103 KING’S ROAD
The Chelsea Society exists to protect the interests of all those who
live and work here and to preserve the unique character of this part
of London. We have around a thousand members.
We object to the above planning application because it is in our view
incompatible with the Council’s policies on context and character;
on design quality; on building heights; and on optimising site
capacity through design-led approach.
The current building on the site is not listed, nor is it within a
conservation area. But it is located directly opposite the Chelsea
Conservation Area and is immediately visible at the end of Markham
Street, an unspoiled vista typical of Chelsea. More importantly it is
on the King’s Road, one of London’s most iconic streets. Preserving
the unique nature of the King’s Road should be a key planning
priority for the Council.
King’s Road is a shopping street, but it is quite different in character
to, for example, Oxford Street, Sloane Street or Kensington High
Street. Its defining features, in architectural terms, are its low-rise
buildings, the multiplicity and variety of its individual shops, the
irregularity of its skyline and its combination of narrowness and
airiness. The proposed development would be damaging to this
unique character. In particular:-
– The height, scale and massing of the building would have overall
an overbearing and dominant impact;
– At the front elevation this would have a canyonisation effect of
enclosure on King’s Road: the building would be significantly higher
than its surroundings and would be an incongruous, monolithic slab
in an otherwise heterogeneous streetscape. The view down
Markham Street would be damaged.
– At the rear it would cause harm to existing houses, given that its
proposed height and scale is significantly greater than what
currently exists: the proposed green wall would not mitigate the loss
of light and the building’s bulk would adversely affect their outlook.
The proposal would thus be contrary to the following Council
a) Pg 182 – Policy CL1 Context and Character states that the
Council will require all development to respect the existing context,
character and appearance, taking opportunities available to improve
the quality and character of buildings and the area and the way it
functions, including being inclusive for all.
b)Pg 185 – Policy CL2 Design Quality states that the Council will
require all development to be of the highest architectural and urban
design quality, taking opportunities to improve the quality and
character of buildings and the area and the way it functions.
c) Pg 203 – Policy CL12 Building Heights states that the Council will
require new buildings to respect the setting of the borough’s valued
townscapes and landscapes, through appropriate building heights.
To deliver this the Council will, inter alia, a. require proposals to
strengthen our traditional townscape in terms of building heights and
roofscape by requiring developments to: i. reflect the prevailing
building heights within the context ii. provide, for larger
developments, a roofscape that reflects that of the context of the
site; iii. seldom use height to express local landmarks so the
prevailing building height is maintained; b. resist buildings
significantly taller than the surrounding townscape other than in
exceptionally rare circumstances, where the development has a
wholly positive impact on the character and quality of the
townscape; etc
Pg 125 – Policy D3 Optimising site capacity through the design-led
approach – which includes the requirements – ref `Form and layout’
1) enhance local context by delivering buildings and spaces that
positively respond to local distinctiveness through their layout,
orientation, scale, appearance and shape, with due regard to
existing and emerging street hierarchy, building types, forms and
proportions and `Quality and character’ 11) respond to the existing
character of a place by identifying the special and valued features
and characteristics that are unique to the locality and respect,
enhance and utilise the heritage assets and architectural features
that contribute towards the local character.
We have other concerns about the application.
It involves the excavation of two basements, something which it is
the Council’s policy only to allow in the case of a large site where all
construction activity can take place in an enclosed space. It is not
clear to us that this condition can be satisfactorily fulfilled in this
The space allocated for servicing the range of commercial and
other activities which are envisaged for the site is rather small. We
would urge the Council to satisfy itself that what is proposed is
The construction activity which will take three years, has the
potential to cause massive disruption to life on the King’s Road. A
robust and credible Construction Traffic Management Plan will be
required. We are not convinced that the applicant has yet produced
We have put some of these concerns to the developers during the
course of the consultations which they have undertaken with the
Chelsea Society. In doing so we acknowledged that the concept
they are working on is in many respects attractive and imaginative
and that some of the facilities which it embodies would be an asset
to Chelsea. A lower, less massive building of this design might be
welcome. But in its current form it is too high, too dominant and too
Planning committee member (Royal Hospital Ward), The Chelsea
Date of Comment: 16/04/2021 10:51:33
Comment type: Objection

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