A controversial plan by Tate Hindle to convert Transport for London’s Grade I-listed HQ into luxury flats faces a rival proposal by Dixon Jones and Richard Griffiths Architects on behalf of a leading international hotel group
Tate Hindle’s competition-winning scheme involves turning Charles Holden’s 1929 transport building over St James Park Tube station at 55 Broadway into a ‘landmark residential’ scheme as part of TfL’s strategy to generate about £3.5 billion of non-fare revenue for the capital’s transport network.
But the proposal – due to go in for planning shortly – has faced criticism because the building was specifically designed as London’s transport headquarters and because the proposed housing would be 78 per cent ‘non-affordable’.
Historian Gavin Stamp claimed in June that the building was being ‘privatised and dedicated to the rich’, while the Twentieth Century Society called for it to be retained as offices.
Now Griffiths and Dixon Jones have confirmed they are working on an alternative planning application on behalf of the Thailand-based five-star hotel group Dusit Thani and its development partner, Trittico.
Griffiths – who in 2012 carried out an expert report for TfL arguing that the building could be retained as offices – said the new proposal would include a theatre or concert hall and would open up important parts of the building to the public.
Under this scheme, TfL would become joint owner and long-term equity partner.
‘We believe that there is a viable alternative to residential use, which we fear would sterilise the area, betray the public service ethos of TfL, and fail to offer adequate public benefit to offset the manifest harm to the significance of one of the finest and most significant buildings of the 1920’s,’ he said.
‘Hotel use would allow regular conducted tours to all areas of heritage interest in the building … and would at all times allow public access to the ground and first floors, to the 10th floor terraces with their outlook over Westminster, and to the top of the tower with [its] magnificent views.’
Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, said: ‘Following detailed analysis, we have decided that a residential led development of 55 Broadway would deliver by far the best value for fare and tax payers, while allowing us to enhance the building’s historic features and settings.’
Tate Hindle declined to comment.
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