84 Eccleston Square demolition opposed by residents

A survey reveals overwhelming local opposition to the short-term development scheme on Eccleston Square. The survey shows a very different picture to the one presented to Westminster CC in their documents.

We asked exactly the same questions as Mosaic and Four Communications, the developer and their PR, with three additions designed to add some clarity. The survey was composed in Google Docs and made available to all. The results are verbatim. Comments have been reduced to snippets (more will be added – there are a lot of them to go through!) but the full texts are available upon request. View the survey form: 84 Eccleston Square Feedback Form (we’ll keep it open so you can add your views and comments).

Update 6 March 2017: The Office Group has taken a 20-year lease on 84 Eccleston Square from Mosaic Properties and the building will get a refurb. (via Evening Standard)

Pastiche

Mosaic’s first question, calling the existing building a poor Cubitt pastiche, understandably generated a variety of answers. The follow-up query was much clearer: Mosaic’s development is worse, or much worse, than the existing building. It would appear that a poor modern pastiche is replacing a traditional one.

Q1. The existing building is an unremarkable pastiche of the surrounding residential architectural style.
Q1. The existing building is an unremarkable pastiche of the surrounding residential architectural style.
84 Eccleston Square: The proposed building is worse than the existing pastiche.
Q2. The proposed building is worse than the existing pastiche.
  • The proposed plan is definitely not in keeping with the area and it would be tragic if they tore down the existing building which has a Thomas Cubitt spirit and replaced it with this modern monstrosity.
  • Modern hard lines, brutalist. Utterly charmless with no relation the neighbouring buildings.
  • Yet another combination of prospective commercial gain, and remarkably poor architectural design, which needs to be fought all the way by residents who care about the area.
  • The planned building looks like a 1960s, heavy, chunky, Washington DC “imperial” remake – quite inappropriate for Pimlico. I wouldn’t mind if the existing, fairly harmless, building were allowed to stay.
  • I could not be more strongly opposed to this building.  The architecture is modern and typical of the lazy designs that are sprouting up throughout London.

Local Area Impact

Similarly, though there are mixed views about the proposed use of the scheme for short-term lettings, almost everybody objects to the local impact of so many short-term tenants on the Square.

84 Eccleston Sq: Q3. Residential use is appropriate for this area.
Q3. Residential use is appropriate for this area.
84 Eccleston Square: Q4. The transient population of the 99 rental apartments will have a noticeable impact on the Square and the local area.
Q4. The transient population of the 99 rental apartments will have a noticeable impact on the Square and the local area.
  • This area of Westminster is predominately residential either long leases or outright ownership.
  • We who live in and around Eccleston Square have something that is very rare in London – a cohesive, considerate community with a strong sense of local pride and neighbourliness. The transient nature of the proposed new residents will do nothing to enhance this and are most likely to detract from this.
  • I fail to see how short lets of up to 1 year will contribute to satisfying London’s need for housing. This will appeal mainly to temporary workers only.
  • I am alarmed at the idea that this building is planned for residential use for short term lets.
  • I think that more flats, to be bought by investors for short-term rental, is short-sighted – there are enough of those going up in Battersea – but this appears to be unceasing.

Please, Give a Little Respect

Nobody really has a good word to say about the design, external appearance or it’s relationship with its local environment. The overwhelming majority want decent, sympathetic, respectful architecture that will enhance Westminster. Mosaic’s plans don’t.

84 Eccleston Square: Q5. The proposed design, combining traditional & contemporary influences, is respectful of the character of the area.
Q5. The proposed design, combining traditional & contemporary influences, is respectful of the character of the area.
84 Eccleston Square: Q6. I would prefer this building to be...

Q6. I would prefer this building to be…
  • I do not support the proposed new-build for 84 Eccleston Square on the grounds that it will have a deleterious impact on the Eccleston Square Conservation zone and the neighbouring ambience and heritage. I do not find it to be “respectful  of the character of the area”.
  • Pimlico is a unique area based on Cubitt designs both original and new (see Bessborough Gardens redevelopment). The  proposed project would destroy the appearance and character of the current architecture.
  • Every other building on the square is grade 2 listed, in order to maintain the views of the square. I can’t change a  window without getting approval.  If the proposed building goes up, there seems little point in keeping the listed status.
  • It’s not sympathetic to the Pimlico Conservation Area, it’s not cutting-edge or innovative, it neither harmonises nor adds a contemporary accent to the corner. It’s both unpleasing and mediocre.
  • The proposed roofline is too tall and not in character with the others in Eccleston Square and the facade is, self-evidently and despite self-serving suggestions to the contrary, not in any way sympathetic to the surrounding Cubitt architecture.

Not Enough Information

Mosaic have not provided enough information for people to have a clear opinion on whether the view of the rear courtyard would be improved or not. The last question is spurious since nobody is going to ask for inconsiderate builders.

84 Eccleston Square: Q7. The rear courtyard will improve views of the site from neighbouring buildings.
Q7. The rear courtyard will improve views of the site from neighbouring buildings.
84 Eccleston Square: Q8. It is essential that there is a comprehensive construction management plan to ensure building works are carried out in a considerate manner.
Q8. It is essential that there is a comprehensive construction management plan to ensure building works are carried out in a considerate manner.

The Bigger Picture

The survey also shows underlying concerns about the broader issue of new developments in Pimlico, specifically architectural merit, affordable housing and s106 deals. It is likely that the current objections to this scheme, the Ebury Bridge Center, 66 Warwick Square, and Stockley House developments will be broadened into a theme of protecting Pimlico’s unique Cubitt legacy, a mainstay of which is its Squares.

  • WHY oh WHY are we knocking down buildings of historical importance and by far much more in keeping with the area and environment!!
  • There are too many new projects in this part of London and it is difficult to find many that are sympathetic to the feel of London and its residents.

What You Can Do

Write an email to WCC to tell them what you think about the scheme. Here’s a sample of an objection, but you should say what you think. You may even like the proposals. “I am writing to object to the proposed redevelopment at 84 Eccleston Square ref 15/04619/FULL. The proposed new building is poorly designed and respects neither the immediate area around Eccleston Square, nor the wider Pimlico Conservation Area. It would degrade historical value and have negative social, transport and amenity impacts. Its proposal breaches many of the Council’s own policies and serves to create suspicion of Westminster’s commitment to it’s residents. I would like to see Pimlico’s historic squares preserved intact. Please reject this proposal.”

More Info

The proposals: 84 Eccleston Square Boards (PDF 3.9Mb).
View 84 Eccleston Square on Google Streetview.
More on WarwickSq: Eccleston Square Block to be Demolished for Short-Term Development.

Owner: Gravita Property Ltd
Developer: Mosaic Properties International Ltd.
PR/Lobby firm: Four Communications.
Planning Consultants: DP9
Planning application documents: 15/04619/FULL

1 Comment

Add Yours
  1. 1
    Clarisa

    I did not have a chance to do survey but my own opinion is strikingly similar to these findings. The proposed new building is a pastiche of the worse type with no architectural merit. Proportions, materials… everything seems wrong to me. The so-called architects should study people like Asplund to understand what makes a modern building fitting contrast to an old one. In this particular enclave, much thought should be given to the overall square window proportions and ceiling heights, as well as building materials. It is a disgrace that the promoters and the council do not realise that the city fabric needs protection and enhancement. A simple visit down to St George´s Square where an unsympathetic postwar building was erected between the stucco houses would convince anyone of the barbaric thread this new proposed building poses.

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