UPDATE - 10th DECEMBER 2015  (See our response on the Planning page)

The developers have had further discussion with the planners and they have submitted a revised planning application. The main changes are: 
1) A change to the facade treatment of the two towers at the back of the site, matching better the surrounding buildings, especially St Ermin's Hotel - in our view an improvement
2) A reduction in vehicular entrances across the pavements in Broadway and Dacre Street and more retail units at street level as a result - a definite improvement
3) A change in the treatment of the lower four floors (retail and offices), asked for by the planners - this has allowed for more pavement space on Victoria Street, but in our view leaves a less attractive facade at street level.
Apart from a reduction in height by one floor on one of the rear towers there is no change to the heights of the buildings.

15th NOVEMBER 2015  Following the exhibition in the summer the scheme for this site has been revised and a planning application made. The detailing is less fussy but the overall scheme remains the same. The Thorney Island Society objected to the scheme on the basis of the height of the buildings fronting Victoria Street, the very small offering of affordable housing, and the fact that the offices and retail units in the scheme are aimed at the top end of the market, ruling out the kind of small enterprises, such as think tanks, that need to be in this area. We also criticised the appearance and materials. Our full comments can be found on the WCC website.

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17th JUNE 2015  You may have read about the £370m sale of New Scotland Yard. One aspect of the sale is the removal of the Met back to its original home on the Embankment, into the renovated Curtis Green building, once an extension to the original Scotland Yard.

The other aspect, which involves The Thorney Island Society, is the proposal to develop the site with a mixed-use scheme for which there has just been a public consultation exhibition. What is proposed is retail on the ground floor, three floors of offices, and six towers of flats, the highest being 20 stories, fronting Victoria Street. The accompanying picture shows the proposed building at the corner between Victoria Street and Broadway. One good aspect to the scheme is that a wide pedestrian passageway is proposed, running between Victoria Street, almost opposite Abbey Orchard Street, to the Grade I listed 55 Broadway, the London Underground headquarters, now due to be converted into residential or other use. There will also be improvements to the public realm, both where the revolving Met sign now stands and to the existing green space (the old graveyard) next door on Victoria Street.

Various members of our committee went to the exhibition and came to much the same conclusion. The following comments were made:

While we agree that there are merits in the proposed scheme, especially in the improvement the public realm, we are concerned about the following:

The height of the buildings fronting Victoria Street

The precedent set by tall towers along this stretch of Victoria Street, leading to the Abbey and Parliament Square.

Affordable housing

The supply of affordable housing is very low, thus reducing the mixed-use aspect of this development. Moreover we understand that this affordable housing will not be social, which would be far more valuable in addressing the housing crisis in London.

Mixed use

The mix would be improved if some office space could be reserved for start-up companies, because small office units are becoming more difficult to find in this area. Some space for community use would be popular.

Appearance and materials

There has been a very negative reaction among our members to the materials and detailing of the facades. The detailing of the facades is far too ‘busy’, especially the transition between the office floors and the residential towers.