Aukett Swanke has secured planning permission for a mixed-use scheme in Belgravia that seeks to enhance the area’s reputation as a premier design and retail district. Designed for the Grosvenor Estate, the project is situated at the historic Newson’s Yard site on Pimlico Road in the Belgravia Conservation Area.
The proposals, drawn up after community consultation, incorporate the timber yard at 61 Pimlico Road, along with five adjoining retail/residential properties. A series of interventions will see the conversion of the timber yard into a cathedral-like retail gallery retaining the principal fabric and double-height space, along with the brick piers and timber trusses. The design includes integrated light wells, lifts and staircases intended to open up and improve connections between the yard, the shops and the street. In total, four retail units will be provided creating circa 800 sq m of new retail space, while the existing five dwellings will be replaced by seven new homes.
Andrew Murdoch, Aukett Swanke UK Director, said: “Most new speculative retail units are single storey boxes with a glass front – we have created two large units out of the old timber yard, which will have a double height, top-lit gallery at the rear, clearly visible from the pavement. This will suit the current mix of retailers in Pimlico Road, both in terms of critical mass and quality of the internal retail environment by repurposing the historic, albeit unlisted, features.”
Planners considered that the new scheme would enhance or preserve the character of the conservation area as well as resulting in additional economic activity and the possibility of more jobs for the local community. Residents of the new properties will be provided with lifetime (25 years) car club membership by Grosvenor to address potential increased pressure on on-street parking as a result of the development.
As to be expected in such a significant area, the development scheme has attracted some controversy. Newson’s Yard is the oldest working timber yard in the country still operational on its original site, and current owner Travis Perkins set up a campaign for its preservation. The Pimlico Road Association also raised concerns about the plans, citing the possible loss of independent businesses that have helped the road become a world renowned interior design hub. Earlier this year, David Humphrey of Humphrey-Carrasco, an antiques dealer operating in Pimlico Road, circulated a petition country-wide among members of the antiques trade asking for support in opposing the development.
Will Bax, Director of Placemaking at Grosvenor’s London estate, is confident that the plans will retain the unique character of the area, stating: “This is an important milestone for Pimlico Road. We consulted more than 200 people – residents, businesses and stakeholders – in reaching these plans, which we believe will provide a welcome boost to the area. We remain committed to growing Pimlico Road’s global appeal as an independent design and retail district whilst protecting the unique character of the place for retailers, residents and visitors for the long term.”
Business Information Specialist