A Malaysian billionaire’s controversial proposals to develop St John’s Wood Barracks in NW London have bagged a thumbs-up from Westminster planners.
Despite stern opposition from English Heritage, the 5.4 acre site will now make way for 147 apartments, six townhouses and residents’ facilities as part of a £1.5 billion mufti makeover, designed by Squire & Partners.
Ananda Krishnan’s Usaha Tegas Group bought the site from the Eyre Estate for £250m in 2012 (when the Royal Horse Artillery moved out) but soon came under fire from heritage experts after revealing plans to raze pretty much everything apart from the Grade II listed riding centre to the ground.
English Heritage went on record to say that demolishing the 1920s Officer’s Mess in particular would cause “considerable harm to the character and appearance of the area”. EH considered listing the Mess back in 2011, when an original (smaller) resi master plan – devised by John MacAslan + Partners – was approved, but didn’t follow through.
A Westminster council spokesman told the Evening Standard: “English Heritage and Westminster council don’t always agree on everything. One reason being the council is in the position of having to balance the need for more housing, growth and jobs against the backdrop of some of the world’s most important heritage.”
Read the official planning report and see all the site pics here
Image by Oxyman (CC-BY-SA-3.0)