Grosvenor is consulting on plans to redevelop the Cundy Street flats, where Charles and Camilla began their romance.
By Camilla Swift
Nestled between busy Victoria station and the bright lights of Sloane Square, Ebury Street is a quiet, mainly residential road.
But there are big changes afoot. Grosvenor is planning a redevelopment that hasn’t had the universal backing of locals.
In a triangle of land between Pimlico Road and Ebury Street sit the Cundy Street flats.
Built after World War Two on a bombsite, the flats are where Prince Charles and the then Camilla Shand began their romance in 1972.
The area is made up of four blocks; Kylestrome, Lochmore, Laxford and Stack, which currently house 111 flats. The lease is due to
expire in 2021.
One other building is included in the proposal; Walden House, which is currently leased to Westminster council and provides 40 homes.
That lease was also due to expire in 2021 but has now been extended until 2023.
“We are proposing to redevelop the site entirely, and we’ve been communicating with our own residents for some time that a redevelopment is coming,” says Fergus Evans, project director at Grosvenor.
Mixed housing and retail
The current plans are for a mixture of affordable homes, market homes and senior living, which would be renamed the Cundy Street Quarter.
At ground level, there would be a combination of retail, restaurants and public spaces.
“We are exploring what that would look like,” says Fergus.
“We are considering a cinema and something which came through strongly in the April consultation was that people would like a supermarket of some sort.”
He added: “So we’ve amended our plans in tune with that.”
Consultations with all parties
Grosvenor has decided to make this a “residential-led redevelopment”.
In practice, this means it is holding a series of consultations with residents, stakeholders and interested parties; asking them their views on the proposals, and what they would like to see from the new site.
A website called GiveMyView allows people who can’t attend the consultation meetings to feed back on the proposals.
But this strategy hasn’t gone down well with everyone.
“They should have consulted with us and other locals before drawing up their own plans,” says James Wright, chairman of the Belgravia Residents’ Association.
Grosvenor also plans to open up the current site, and create what it describes as a “reimagined village centre”.
Fergus explains: “The fundamental of the master plan is to open up a new walking route between Orange Square and Ebury Square.
“This would be where those ground-floor buildings would be orientated, and we have the opportunity to have lots of greening and good quality public space.”
Due to the differing lease endings, Grosvenor expects the development to take place in two phases, with one starting in 2021 and the other in 2023.
Each phase is expected to take two to two-and-a-half years to complete.
Listening to residents
The consultation means that Grosvenor can adapt and change the proposals, and it would be fair to say that not all residents are pleased with the plans.
However, Fergus is adamant that Grosvenor won’t ride roughshod over the demands of locals.
“Some people are concerned about the quantum of retail on Ebury Street. They see it as a residential street,” he admits.
“We hear the concerns from the residents of Ebury Street in particular, and we’re not just going to dig our heels in and say that’s that.
“The whole reason why we’re consulting is to hear those concerns and develop our proposals to respond to them.”
The next step, then, is to convince locals, and Westminster council, that the plans are the right ones.
“Our job now is to work with our architects to respond to the feedback, and we’d be looking to present our improved design to stakeholders and the wider community in September or October time,” says Fergus.
To view the consultation boards and to give feedback online, visit givemyview.com/cundystreetquarter