British Land’s scheme for a 20-storey office block at 5 Kingdom Street in Paddington was rejected unanimously by Westminster’s Planning Committee in March 2020 but has been “called in” for final decision by the Mayor of London. While we recognise the Mayor has done an excellent job in negotiating a much higher affordable housing commitment from British Land (£14.3m vs £1.8m that Westminster secured), this remains well below the £33m which Westminster’s policy demands. And it’s clear that the building is still strongly opposed by the community in and around Paddington. The specific issues are:
- 5 Kingdom Street will be significantly higher than its surroundings and be visible from a very wide area, including from as far afield as the Serpentine Bridge in Hyde Park.
- The views from Blomfield Road, Little Venice and Warrington Crescent are particularly damaging
- Significant loss of light to the residents of Westbourne Terrace Road who are already suffering from the proposed infill development on Blomfield Mews
- Its design, massing and bulk are unsuitable for its location and 5 Kingdom Street will overlook over 40 historic buildings and six conservation areas
- The affordable housing contribution of £14.3m remains well below the £33m which a building of these dimensions should pay according to Westminster’s published policy
Councillor Geoff Barraclough, shadow cabinet member for planning said:
“The Mayor has done a great job wringing an extra £12.5m from British Land but it’s not nearly enough to compensate for this 20 storey eyesore. 5 Kingdom Street will loom over 40 historic buildings and six conservation areas like an unwelcome guest at a bad party.”