Councillors have approved plans by Apt, formerly Robin Partington & Partners, to add six storeys to one of the towers in its Merchant Square scheme in west London
Westminster Council’s major applications planning subcommittee voted to grant planning consent to the Farringdon-based practice’s revised proposals for the canalside site in Paddington.
Outline permission was initially granted eight years ago for a 42-storey tower by Partington, dubbed the Cucumber, along with three sister blocks. A further two buildings were approved soon afterwards.
Now Apt has secured consent to replace a hotel element in the Cucumber with extra homes, as well as boosting a block known as Building 6 from 15 to 21 storeys (48m to 67m), again to create more housing units.
Together the two towers will provide a total of 426 homes – an increase from the 341 put forward in the earlier designs. Of these 67 will be classified as affordable. The scheme will also include ground-floor retail and leisure space, a sky bar in the tallest building and basement car and cycle parking.
Planning officers said in a report recommending approval of the amended scheme: ‘While the proposed development would result in some limited adverse effects, the planning benefits of the scheme, particularly the delivery of a significant quantum of market and affordable housing, provision of employment generating uses … provision of a new publicly accessible open space and the wider enhancement to the public realm and townscape within this part of the city, outweigh the harm that has been identified.’
It is yet to be seen whether London mayor Sadiq Khan will intervene on the decision.
Apt director James Ewan said: ‘We are delighted with the City of Westminster committee’s endorsement of the proposals for 1 and 6 Merchant Square and their positive comments regarding the redesign of the masterplan, which seeks to reinforce Paddington as a destination and create a strong sense of place. We now await the mayor’s decision.’
Robin Partington & Partners won the initial planning consents, before rebranding itself as Apt last year and relaunching with a new shared-ownership structure.
Apt’s Merchant Square masterplan April 2019