Foster + Partners’ plans for the overhaul of London’s Grade II-listed Whiteleys shopping centre have got the go-ahead – despite opposition from locals.
Westminster City Council approved the contentious scheme last night, but will now look into setting conditions concerning the scale of two residential towers that form part of the proposal, alongside a gym, hotel, cinema and new shops.
Get Whiteleys Right, a local campaign group, fears the 10-storey-high additions at the back of the 1911 building will block daylight from existing flats in nearby Kensington Gardens Square.
‘As local residents, we would welcome sensitive redevelopment of this historic building,’ says the group. ‘However, we believe the height of the development should be capped at a maximum of five storeys.’
Get Whiteleys Right also raised concerns about the lack of affordable housing on site. Developers Meyer Bergman and Warrior Group will however contribute £6 million to affordable housing off site in the borough.
Heritage groups including Historic England and the Victorian Society likewise objected to the application. But Foster + Partners insist their designs will address the current building’s shortcomings, while retaining its façade and central dome – designed by architects John Belcher and John James Joass.
‘The proposals represent an opportunity to reinvigorate and repurpose a landmark heritage building in this part of Westminster, addressing its current deficiencies as an outdated and failing, inward-facing shopping centre,’ the architects said in planning documents.