Paddington Cube plans approved despite heritage concerns

Plans for an office-led redevelopment of a former Royal Mail site next to Paddington Station in central London have been approved despite concerns from heritage groups, including built environment conservation adviser Historic England.

Paddington Cube: heritage concerns dismissed
Paddington Cube: heritage concerns dismissed

Developer Sellar Property Group’s 14-storey Paddington Cube development replaced previous plans for a 72-storey residential building on the site which were withdrawn following local opposition.

The Paddington Cube application sought full permission for the demolition of existing buildings on the site and the construction of a new 50,000 square metre office/commercial building, alongside retail and café/restaurant uses at lower levels and top floor level.

There would also be a new public piazza, including the pedestrianisation of London Street, a new access road between Winsland Street and Praed Street, and a new London Underground station entrance and Bakerloo Line ticket hall.

A planning report considered by Westminster City Council’s planning committee said that the scheme proposal has "the general support of the mayor, Transport for London, Network Rail and London Underground Limited, on the basis that improvements to Paddington Station of this magnitude can only be delivered through redevelopment and the one-off opportunity that this site and redevelopment brings".

But it added that the development had also been opposed by Historic England, The Victorian Society, Save Britain’s Heritage, local associations and civic groups.

The report said that Historic England said that the proposals would "have a major harmful impact on the Bayswater Conservation Area because of their height, massing and design, all of which is very different from the prevailing historic and architectural character of the area".

But planners said that the "many and varied benefits" of the development, "including social, economic and regenerative benefits" are "considered collectively to be substantial public benefits, which outweigh the less than substantial harm to heritage assets". 

The report concluded that the proposal "provides a unique opportunity to provide much needed strategic transport benefits and significant public realm improvements to Paddington and these substantial public benefits are considered to outweigh the acknowledged harm to heritage assets".


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