Green light for Rogers’ exclusive Hanover Square scheme...

Jim Dunton

Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners' proposals for 22 Hanover Square in London

…but decision prompts anger over affordable housing contributions tied to development

Members of Westminster city council’s planning committee have backed the demolition of a 1920s Mayfair office building to make way for a Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners designed boutique hotel and flats development.

The decision was in line with advice from planning officers, who recommended approval for the practice’s 22 Hanover Square scheme, which will deliver a 50 room hotel and up to 81 serviced apartments on the corner site.

They said Rogers’ two-part structure, which is 11 storeys tall at its highest, was a “substantial improvement” on Celanese House, the current building on the site.

In a report to this week’s meeting, officers described Celanese House as “somewhat elephantine in scale” and said the structure detracted from nearby heritage buildings in the Mayfair Conservation Area.

 

 

As part of the approval, planning committee members also approved the use of £2 million out of a total £9.5 million in Section 106 planning obligation contributions for public realm improvements to Hanover Square, which the officers’ report stated had no justification in planning policy.

David Boothroyd, a Labour member of the planning committee who opposed the scheme, criticised new committee chair Conservative Richard Beddoe for leading the panel in steering the £2 million contribution away from the council’s affordable housing fund.

“The housing crisis is getting worse and families in Westminster are being forced out, so I was looking forward to a new chair fighting their corner,” he said.

The planning officers’ report had suggested that the Hanover Square development could support combined Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 payments of £14.5 million.

 

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