A splendid row of Victorian and Neo-Renaissance buildings on Bayswater Road, west London, imminently faces the wrecking ball.
The Black Lion pub — a 300-year-old-former coaching inn, where British soldiers were once recruited to fight against Napoleon — is among buildings that were purchased in 2014, and subsequently earmarked for demolition, making way for luxury flats overlooking Hyde Park. Developer Fenton Whelan is behind the project.
The buildings of 117-125 Bayswater Road now await their fate, hooded in scaffolding, but the fight is not yet over. Campaigners Stop the Wrecker have launched a petition, calling on Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to halt the demolition.
The petition claims that the development flies in the face of suggestions by Westminster Council's own planning officer, and that it is therefore "in violation of Section 72 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990."
The developer Fenton Whelan denies this, telling Londonist that the development will in not fact be damaging to the area, but make a total public contribution of £18.3 million, used to deliver £11 million of affordable housing* as well as a series of important public realm improvements. These 'improvements' are set to include "the creation of a new junction at Bayswater Road, a new public plaza, enhanced street frontages, public artwork, widened pavements, improved lighting and new landscaping."
Fenton Whelan also says it wants to 'regenerate Queensway into Bayswater Village'.
While we're all for sensitive regeneration, we hope that these handsome and historic buildings — in such a prominent position too — manage to outwit demolition.
Sign the petition against the demolition.
*A definition of 'affordable' is yet to be ascertained.