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Legal threats fly over KPF scheme for Covent Garden

The Covent Garden Community Association has threatened a Kohn Pedersen Fox project with 'High Court legal action' if it wins planning consent from Westminster City Council next month.

The CGCA is a vociferous opponent of the project - to replace a series of unlisted buildings with a mixed-use development - because of its impact on the Covent Garden Conservation Area.

The association's Jim Monahan has vowed to 'never give up the fight' against the £25 million residential, retail and office and cultural centre on a 40,000m 2site on Mercer Street. Many of the existing buildings in the Watney Combe brewery complex will be retained.

'We are not opposed to all the schemes proposed for this area, ' Monahan said. 'We just hate being forced to oppose this awful mediocrity all the time. The whole of this KPF scheme is predicated on a misunderstanding.'

The association has won the backing of English Heritage's Timothy Jones, who is particularly concerned about the demolition of the historic Chertsey Chambers, which the heritage body has failed to list.

In a letter to the client, Jones described the scheme as having a 'seriously adverse affect on the conservation area'. 'The opportunity to use this large site to enhance the area should not be lost.'

KPF's project architect, Andy McConachie, hit back at the criticism, saying the CGCA has taken the 'whole of the scheme out of context'.

'We have made some radical changes to the scheme because of the complaints and we now believe that what we are doing is extending the lives of the buildings we are retaining on the site, ' he said.

'The CGCA is made up of people who will reject all changes to the conservation area without even thinking about it, 'McConachie added.

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