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Toffs kill off family plans in Belgravia

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The 'highest concentration of peers in London' has comprehensively rounded on architectural and landscape plans to make Belgrave Square more appealing to local families.

The Belgravia Residents' Association - led by a senior government advisor and his wife - has objected strongly to changes to one of the capital's most exclusive patches of grass.

Using a rare parliamentary loophole, Westminster council has now thrown out plans by Grosvenor Estate's in-house architects, which include relocating a children's play area - which it is thought would encourage ball games - and erecting a gardener's compound.

The London Squares Preservation Act 1931 states that new buildings in certain squares must provide only for the squares in which they are to be located. These proposals made it all the way to a council planning committee meeting yesterday evening before being thrown out.

The Belgravia Residents' Association is led by Lady Cleaver and her husband Sir Anthony Cleaver, chairman of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Baroness Thatcher and the close family of former Timeseditor Peter Stothard are also known to be locals.

Mark Field MP, who wrote a letter to the council expressing his concern, was contacted by a number of objectors via a local amenities committee. Although refusing to specifically name those objecting, he joked that 'the area probably has a higher number of peers than any other square mile in London.'

by Rob Sharp

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