Comments on planning application 14/04766/FULL 25-33 Berners Street

Planning Application 14/04766/FULL 25-33 Berners Street London W1T 3LR

Proposal: Demolition of existing buildings and erection of replacement building comprising retail (Class A1) and / or cafe/restaurant (Class A3) at part ground and part basement floor levels; offices (Class B1) at part basement, part ground, and first to seventh floor levels (including roof terraces at front seventh floor level and at rear fourth floor level); and plant at roof level.

Comments:

Object to the size of the A1/A3 units because this is contrary to policy as they are in excess of 500m2. The policy is designed to preserve residential amenity and restrict problems due to entertainment uses. We would like to see each unit sub-divided into two or three units to encourage shops of local use to benefit the community.

We object to the physical appearance of the building next to the Charlotte Street West Conservation Area and East Marylebone Conservation Area. The building replaces three buildings producing an overbearing block. This clashes with neighbouring Berners Mansions and opposite Grade II* listed Sanderson hotel. The window design has more in keeping with the Fitzroy Place development which is regarded locally as being of little architectural merit.

The Berners Mews elevation is an overdevelopment in this narrow mews street. It creates a monolithic block in an otherwise small-scale environment.

We are particularly disappointed in the proposal to demolish Copyright House at 29-33 Berners Street, a building designed by Richard Seifert and Partners. The Twentieth Century Society has made an application to English Heritage to list the building and we support this application. The C20 say: “Seifert is becoming increasingly recognised as a significant architect of the post-war period. It was the first building to hint at the South American influence of Felix Candela and Oscar Neimeyer. The projecting canopy at high level is a distinctive 1950s feature which Pevsner characterises as ‘a playful undulating pierced roof canopy in the Festival spirit’.”

We are also disappointed in plans to demolish the neo-Georgian building by Robert Angell & Curtis.

All three existing buildings are in good condition and we would like to see them refurbished. There are negative environmental consequences to the plans. Demolishing and rebuilding will use energy, and cause pollution by having to cart the building rubble through the streets and bring new materials in.

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