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Eric Parry’s £400m Dolphin Square overhaul and extension turned down


Westminster councillors have rejected Eric Parry Architects’ £400 million plans to increase the size of the UK’s largest single private residential development

The council’s Planning Applications Sub Committee went against its own officers’ recommendations voting unanimously to refuse consent for the practice’s overhaul of Stanley Gordon Jeeves’s 1938 Dolphin Square in central London.

The scheme, backed by US developer Westbrook Partners, would have added 230 homes to the unlisted 1,225-flat Pimlico estate. Proposed works included demolishing and rebuilding Rodney House, adding a rooftop extension to the rest of the estate, reconfiguring existing units and adding 16 townhouses.

A consultation on the scheme elicited 98 responses, most of which were negative. The Twentieth Century Society warned the scheme would harm the significance of the Dolphin Square Conservation Area.

‘It is a testament to Dolphin Square’s design quality that despite its massive size it sits well with both the adjoining estates and the stucco terraces, and its gardens and interior, especially the shop arcade, create an absolutely beautiful haven of 1930s character,’ said the heritage body.

The Dolphin Square Preservation Society branded the plans ‘excessive’ and insisted they would ‘destroy the ethos, character and fabric’ of the neo-Georgian estate. The buildings, which has been home to princesses, MPs and spies and actors over the last 80 years, has been the subject of three unsuccessful listing bids.

Addtions etc

Addtions etc

Planning officers had, nevertheless, recommended approval, saying the ‘significant’ benefits of new homes – 57 of which would be affordable – outweighed ‘less than substantial’ harm to the conservation area from demolition of Rodney House.

‘The increase in height of the proposed replacement building and rooftop extensions will increase the building’s dominance,’ conceded the planning report to committee. ‘However, given the scale of the existing building, and the simplicity of the proposed architecture, it is considered that the architectural character of the conservation area will be preserved.’

Regardless of this advice, councillors voted to refuse the scheme.

Westminster City Council chairman of planning Gotz Mohindra said: ’Dolphin Square clearly needs refurbishment but this scheme provides too much temporary lettable accommodation at the expense of permanent housing, especially for families, or wider public benefit to justify the harm that the extensive works would do to the conservation area.

’The increase in short-term let properties, which the council and residents fiercely oppose, left us with little choice but to refuse the application.’

Eric Parry Architects and Westbrook Partners have been contacted for comment.

Dolphin square, grosvenor road, pimlico london please credit as architectural press archive riba collections

Dolphin Square, Grosvenor Road, Pimlico, London shortly after completion in 1939

Source: Architectural Press Archive/ RIBA Collections

Dolphin Square, Grosvenor Road, Pimlico, London shortly after completion in 1939


Readers' comments (3)

  • Another example of a developer's scheme to 'make the assets sweat' by stuffing London. Thwarted this time.

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  • Interesting case. Not worthy of listing. Additional homes including affordable provided/funded. Temporary lettable accommodation not valuable? Against officers recommendation. Powerful local lobby no doubt. I don't see this as stuffing London, have a look across the river if you want to see what stuffing London by sweating the assets looks like. Eric Parry would do a fine job and the results should enhance the estate.

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  • Absorblutely incredible!! And they wonder why there has been a housing and design crisis for as long as I’ve been alive and kicking!!

    Dolphin Sq and Westminster City Council is full of the most ignorant and konservative old farts known to progress. Nothing must happen. No nothing at all. New pedestrian and cycle bridges from Battersea and the US Embassy to Chelsea? Refurbish the tired 1939 flats? Take a good architect and some American money and throw them in the river?!

    I’m beginning to think Guido Fawkes had the right idea with these people. Who the hell are they, in charge of our City? Perhaps a good Brexit will leave them behind? Even Boris looks good in comparison!!

    Don’t give up Eric and Co. You will succeed in the next round? Like a Mexican heavyweight?!!

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