1. Scale and massing. We have significant concerns over the excessive height and bulk of the proposed development which will cause harm to the Portman Estate Conservation Area. The impact of the proposed massing on the townscape views and to the properties to the east backing onto Broadstone Place is detrimental.
2. Conservation: Removal of existing buildings which have some local merit, numbers 70-62 is unwelcome, especially no.62-64 which, above ground floor, is a decent example of stone architecture from the 1930s in the Marylebone area and the justification for their replacement with a singular architecture is convenient rather than convincing.
3. Townscape analysis: we concur with the analysis, put forward by the Wendover Court Management Ltd objection on behalf of local residents that the application site is half the urban block, which extends to Chiltern Street to the east and that the proposals should be considered in this context.
4. Sustainability: the embodied carbon of existing buildings is assessed and considered and deemed to be outweighed by the long term carbon benefits of the proposals. We expect WCC to consider the proposed demolition over refurbishment in the light of the Marks & Spencer case and to be consistent with this.
5. Pattern of development: the removal of smaller development parcels and the agglomeration into a single large development with a central entrance is an unwelcome intervention into an area mostly characterised by smaller development footprints, with the building opposite on Baker Street being an unusual exception. It is not in keeping with the urban grain or rhythm of the local area.
6. The relative inflexibility of a central entrance and two cores means that the future development can at most be divided into two, rather than more (eg. four if two entrances had been centred on the cores). While this may appeal to the office market at present, this seems an inherently inflexible approach that is thus less sustainable than a more flexible, multi entrance design. We do not agree that the proposed configuration represents a ‘future proofed and flexible’ building which is the ambition stated in the design and access statement
7. Design and architecture: the proposed architectural language is unusual in the area. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, we encourage contemporary architecture in Marylebone to be of exemplary quality in order to be supportive of it. In our view the proposals do not yet reach this standard. The lack of variety in elevational treatment over such a long facade, including turning the corners onto Blandford and Dorset Street is unwelcome and the detail lacks the refinement of some other distinguished works by the architect. The design of the central entrance is prosaic and would benefit from refinement. Further design development of the elevations would be welcomed and perhaps should be subject to comment from Westminsters imminent Design Review Panel.
8. Residential quality: the proposed homes are mostly single aspect and we do not accept that an internal bay that allows oblique views at 45 degrees qualifies as providing adequate dual aspect, as required by the GLA.
The Marylebone Association
6 Wimpole Street