Achievements

The Trust seeks and receives all relevant planning applications and gives feedback about many of them to Westminster Council.

With the Trust’s guidance and support, many achievements have been secured including award-winning contemporary architecture, landscapes, sculpture and uses:

Jay Joplin’s White Cube gallery in Mason’s Yard set in restored granite paving.

One Eagle Place: a development by the Crown Estate working with Eric Parry Architects.

The transformation of Babmaes Street, as part of a major development of RTZ’s premises, also facing St James’s Square.

Other examples of the Trust’s more prominent and important work are detailed below:

7-8 Bennet Street

Overview:

The importance of finding a better use for premises such as 7-8 Bennet Street was one of the main conclusions of the Trust’s. St James’s A3- Food and Drink Study 2004; which showed that historic St James’s is under unrelenting threat from the growth of A3/A4 uses (licensed restaurants and bars), westwards from the West End Stress Area. The Trust is committed to preventing the excessive spread and growth of restaurants and bars in St James’s and is working hard to control their impact on the character of the area. After repeated applications to use the premises as a restaurant, successfully opposed by the Trust, this important site now houses an art gallery.

French Railways House & Alfred Dunhill Ltd

Overview:

In June 2007, the Trust was advised by the City Council of a planning application to demolish the existing, unattractive 1960s concrete frame buildings at 177-179 Piccadilly and 48-50 Jermyn Street and to redevelop the site running along one side of Duke Street between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street. The new 8 storey development was to comprise retail at ground floor level, offices at first to fifth floor levels and eight residential units on the top two floors. Although the Trust accepted that the design of the proposed building had considerable merit, it objected strongly both to the developers and to the City Council on the grounds of excessive height, bulk and monolithic style. Sadly, by a majority vote, permission for the proposal was granted, although it amounts to an increase over the present site content of about one third. However, it did not receive freeholder’s approval for development at the time from The Crown Estate and interim improvements have been made to the existing building with no negative impact on the area.

Windsor House 55-56 St James’s Street

Overview:

After considerable lobbying by the Trust, an application for the demolition and redevelopment of Windsor House, which included the whole of the south elevation of Bennet Street, was refused planning permission in March 2007. The proposed redevelopment was typical of banal architecture that was inappropriate in the core area of St James’s. Although it has a relatively small frontage onto St James’s Street, it extends the whole length of Bennet Street and into part of Arlington Street. Furthermore, the site is in the very heart of historic St James’s, being in close proximity to the Ritz Hotel and several famous buildings such as White’s, Boodle’s, Brooks’s and the old Devonshire Club (50 St. James’s Street, currently being improved from a former casino into a members club). As a result of the Trust’s efforts, the building was redesigned to a higher standard and granted planning permission on 26th July 2007, with completion date expected in 2015/2016.

5 & 6 St. James’s Square

Overview:

In March 2007, the owners of 5 & 6 St. James’s Square applied to demolish a large site extending from the St. James’s Square frontage back to include 10 & 11 Babmaes Street and to redevelop the site as offices, and 14 residential flats. The Trust was able to influence the design of this redevelopment, particularly the St. James’s Square elevation of No. 6. The Trust welcomed the care taken to achieve a high architectural standard in the proposed redevelopment, but informed the City Council it was essential, when evaluating the application, to seek several conditions for a) treatment of elevations at ground level on all public facades and b) impact on the adjacent highways and contributions to local repaving improvements, promoted by the Trust for natural stone paving. Planning permission was granted in June 2007, attaching these conditions.

In June 2011, stripping out was being carried out in preparation for the demolition and redevelopment of these premises, with phased completions taking place in 2013/14/15.

7 & 8 St. James’s Square

Overview:

In 2006, the St James’s Conservation Trust objected to an application for the demolition and redevelopment of 7&8 St James’s Square. This proposed application extends along the Duke of York Street to Apple Tree Yard. The Trust’s main objection was the poor design of the Duke of York Street elevation which was lacking harmony with the Wren church at the top of this street. Despite this, on 1st February 2007, the application was granted planning permission in part, but a condition was imposed that there should be a revised treatment for the Duke of York Street elevation. The redesigned elevation, although an improved design, was still not entirely to the Trust’s satisfaction, but was granted planning permission on 4th October 2007.

In March 2008, the City Council granted an application from the new owners of the premises for a change of use of No.8 St James’s Square from offices to restored residential use.

In January 2011, a new design, by Eric Parry RA, was submitted, on behalf of the new owners, to Westminster City Council. The St James’s Conservation Trust was given a preview of the new design and considers this a better design than any of the previous ones. Completion is expected in 2015.

The Enhancement of St James’s Square

Overview:

The Trust, in partnership with the City Council and the St. James’s Square Trust, has initiated a scheme for the enhancement of St James’s Square. Following meetings between the Trust and Westminster City Council, it has been agreed that the project should be financed as a partnership between the City Council and stakeholders of the Square. The concept for the enhancement of the Square was outlined in the Trust’s first 1999 Study “Conserving Historic St. James’s”, and following an initial grant of £10,000 from The Rose Foundation, Peter Heath RIBA, MRTPI has been working with West One and Westminster City Council to produce the initial designs. The enhancements have included York stone paving, more lamp standards of an appropriate historic design, improved cycle facilities and an improved vehicle parking layout with more pedestrian friendly space and easy access to the St James Square gardens. Completion in phases from 2010 – 2015.

Improvement to the Road System & Forecourt – St James’s Palace

Overview:

The Trust has been closely associated with the re-introduction of the two-way road system in St James’s which has demonstrated that the new system reduced traffic congestion, especially in Piccadilly, and provided greater room and safety for pedestrians.The Trust had initiated a scheme for the improvement of the road system including the forecourt in front of St James’s Palace. There have been consultations between the Trust and Westminster City Council, English Heritage and other interested authorities, led to approvals for the overall scheme and a multi-million pound funding partnership between the City Council, The Crown Estate and Transport for London. Implementation of the first phase, restoring 2-way traffic working to historic St. James’s Street, Pall Mall, Piccadilly and Piccadilly Circus was completed in phases in 2011 and a second Phase for the repaving in natural stone of Regent Street, St. James’s, Waterloo Place and Haymarket will complete in phases from 2014/15.

The Ritz Hotel

Overview:

In March 2007, Westminster City Council approved an application for the demolition and redevelopment of 22 Arlington Street to form an extension to The Ritz Hotel, comprising basement, lower ground, ground and eight storeys above, providing 45 rooms/suites and related guest facilities. Throughout 2010, preparatory work for the development took place and, in June 2011, construction work on the project is awaiting final legal consents, for work in phases probably from 2015.

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