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SOHO FOUNDRY: Planning applications 2012

September 1, 2010

21st August 2012

This is a diary of events regarding the Soho Foundry project since the significant date of 21st August 2012. This was the first sub-committee meeting at Westminster planning regarding approval to form a community art gallery with a licensed cafe, press this link to go to Westminster council’s records of our APPLICATION. This is now July 2014, and the situation should become lively during the next few months. WATCH THIS SPACE!

26th April 2013   Mark Teverson met today on site at Peter Street with Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the opposition at Westminster City Council. A very good meeting with a man concerned for the local community. He confirms his support for Berwick Street Community Group to obtain a long lease from the freeholders, Westminster Kingsway College (WKC), for a community art gallery at the schoolkeeper’s house & adjacent land, 15 Peter St. W1H 0HS. He agreed that WKC should be embarrassed for leaving a property once owned by the public to remain empty for 25 years and should be returned to the community, and that the campaign ‘SUPPORT THE SOHO FOUNDRY‘ must gather support. Communication made to: Giles Lane (Proboscis), Cindy Hacker (Soho Society), Josh Loeb (Journalist Evening Standard & West End Extra), David Bieda (Labour candidate West End ward & Soho Society). (It should be noted that none of the ward councilors for the West End, or any of the Soho Society committee have ever visited the site with Mark.)

15th February 2013      Appeal made today against the decision to our planning application. Requests of letters of support to this appeal are being made to: West End ward councilors (Glenys Roberts, Jonathan Glanz, Frixos Tombolis), Alastair Moss (local resident and Westminster councilor), Soho Society planning committee, local press (London Standard, West End Extra, Soho Clarion).         21st February  West End ward Westminster councilors’ surgery, St. Anne’s, Soho. Present: Jonathan Glanz, Frixos Tombolis. Request for the councilors to be more proactive on our behalf, particularly as the A3 alcohol contributing to stress in Soho has been shown to not be significant.

The following is a diary on this project following that important date of 21st August 2012. The application was turned down, as expected, but as explained under the first post, SOHO FOUNDRY, on this website, the freeholders – Westminster Kingsway College – merely had to claim an intended use for the Schoolkeeper’s House, and their objection would take priority over our application. Westminster planning department  supported our application, and the four councillors at the sub-committee meeting (3 Conservative, 1 Labour) – all stated that after 24 years of no use and being empty, the property should be brought back into public use. The Labour councillor, Ruth Blair, Harrow Road, went against the policy, and voted on our behalf. The Head of Planning, John Walker, reiterated the general sentiment, and stated that a future application may be considered more favourably. But the freeholders promises, believed by the councillors, takes precedence. There is a 6 month period available for appeal.

7 months after our application for change of use on the Schoolhouse, 15 Peter Street, London W1F 0HS, Berwick Street Community Group were given 2 days notice of a planning sub-committee hearing at Westminster City Hall on 21st August 2012. We were notified that the freeholders wished to use the building for educational purposes. As freeholders, their suggested use takes precedence over our application, so our application could therefore not be supported by the planning department. Since inheriting the site from Westminster council, Westminster Kingsway College (WKC) have done nothing with the building which was once publicly owned

However, there was broad support from the four councillors present, particularly on the view that the building has been unused and unkept for 24 years! Councillor Ruth Bush (Labour, Westminster Harrow Road ward) voted to support our application. Councillor Christabel Flight (Conservative, Westminster Warwick ward) stated that the freeholders, Westminster Kingsway College, should be given a time limit in which to commence work, after which our application could be approved if work was not implemented. John Walker, head of planning, stated this was not policy, but a future application may be viewed differently.

On balance, we feel these results to be very successful. Firstly, Westminster planning SUPPORTED our application for art gallery (D1) with a licenced cafe (A3). They agreed with us that our application for alcohol to be provided with no extension of hours after midnight would not contribute to stress in the area. This is virtually the first time for a NEW A3 planning application to be supported in Soho for some 14 years. The council and the Soho Society have a consistent policy of no new A3 permissions in the Soho stress area. As a resident of Soho for 32 years, I entirely agree with this policy, but not as dogma. We have shown there would be minimal or no added stress. With A3 permission, we can pay our bills and allow this important community project to proceed.

Secondly, this has highlighted the desire by the freeholders to DEMOLISH the building (see ITEM 07:1 below). This is in the report submitted to the sub-committee by the planning department (see below AGENDA & ITEM 07). No application has yet been made by WKC to develop the site. WKC tried to sell the entire site some 5 years ago, but were blocked by the council on the grounds that the sale would not be for public use. We are still trying to obtain details of this attempted sale and the correspondence for its rejection. The proposed demolition would be within the Berwick Street conservation area. It is believed that WKC are still determined to achieve a sale of this site, unencumbered by a third party (ourselves) being involved, and to further concentrate the college’s activities to their Kings Cross site.

The main college building was built in 1880 as the Pultney School. However, our building predates this, as can be seen from the ordnance survey map of 1869 (see below). We are investigating this further at the London Metropolitan Archives and Westminster Archives. Below are recent pictures of the Schoolkeeper’s House showing where this building was connected to adjacent terraced buildings. We believe the building should be Grade II listed on the grounds that it was built prior to 1840 (an important yardstick, see WCC – and English Heritage – criteria for listing below) and is historically significant (it represents the only remaining building in Soho that is of the working class socio-economic demographic). The adjacent NCP carpark, built in 1929, is also Grade II listed, and was built over the William & Mary Yard (off the present Lexington Street). See much enlarged sections of maps (1553, 1572,1681,1746, 1770, 1862, 1869, 1873-74, 1894, 2012)

Listing a building prevents it being demolished, and is a far greater impediment to that than it just being within the Berwick Street & Soho conservation area. It also obliges the freeholders to bring it to a proper condition. Listing a building preserves it for the nation’s heritage

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20th September 2012  If you ‘google’ SOHO FOUNDRY, it still comes up only on page 4. Most of that search refers to the Soho Foundry in Smethwick, Birmingham and an associated pub

21st September 2012, Friday  West End Extra (local London newspaper) today written by journalist Josh Loeb                                                                     

25th September 2012, Tuesday   Interesting work suddenly commenced so soon after the article on the Soho Foundry on Friday. The building lies within the Berwick Street conservation area, so no structural work can commence without Westminster planners’ consent. Steve Brandon (planning case officer) and Matthew Pendleton (planning conservation officer) at Westminster have been informed   

26th September 2012 9.05am   Enforcement action from John Walker (Operational Director Development Planning). Contacted Stuart Taylor at the Georgian Group for further information on the origins of this building. Pix today 9.15am –

      

27th September 2012 9.00am                                                                                       

28th September 2012 9.15am                                                                                                                                                                               West End Extra today ‘letters to the editor’ commenting on the article by Josh Loeb the previous Friday (see above)(click on pic to enlarge)

1st October 2012 9am      An angry security came out and said, “You can’t take photographs here. This college is private property!”                                

Jim Gledhill, Curator of Social & Working History at the Museum of London, finally responded by email to say we’re researching the origins of the building in the right archives…..

5th October 2012                                                                                                          Copies of this West End Extra article, plus those of 21/9/2012 and 28/9/2012 (see above), have been forwarded to councillors: Jonathan Glanz (WE Con), Glenys Roberts (WE Con), Frixos Tombolis (WE Con), Ruth Bush (Harrow Rd. Lab), Christabel Flight (Warwick, Con), Alastair Moss (Maida Vale, Con)

6th October 2012                                                                                        

8th October 2012    In response to our query as to the reason for the above works, John Walker (Westminster Operational Director Development Planning) states there is planning permission for a lift and window to the main building, and they state the Schoolkeeper’s House is being used as a site office

Stuart Taylor of the Georgian Group commented on some 13 photographs of the Schoolkeeper’s House sent to him yesterday. Many features are of the period the college was built (late Victorian and possibly Edwardian). However, some features may be significantly earlier, and the clear evidence of a demolished adjacent building is confusing. We know research on a working class dwelling is difficult as there is little other connection to local history, as would be the case with eg. the Meard Street townhouses. Further primary research at London Metropolitan Archives and the Guildhall is required. The building was possibly built for the Corporation of London, so enquiries as to the possible architects used could be profitable

10th October 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                   LMA again. Stuart Taylor’s recommendation to peruse ‘The Small House in Eighteenth Century London: A Social and Architectual History’, Peter Guillery (2004) is certainly interesting with much on Georgian St James. Further, inspection of the archive ‘John Tallis, London Street Views 1830’ gave the below drawings. Survey of London, F.H.W.Sheppard (1963) …Peter Street, “..a short and dirty street”                                    

17th October 2012            Emailed Stuart Taylor at the Georgian Group for advice where evidence of the buildings evident in the Tallis 1830 drawings (above) will be found

   

19th October 2012          West End Extra today                                                                                                       

 20th October 2012                                                                                                       

29th October 2012         Letter today from Rosemarie MacQueen, Strategic Director Built Environment, Westminster planning enforcement. No further action. Forwarded this letter to Alastair Moss, resident of Salvo House (opposite to the building works and co-complainant to Westminster City Council enforcement and noise) (Conservative councillor, Maida Vale ward)

3rd November 2012                Taking stock. Replies now from Stuart Taylor (The Georgian Group) and Billy Hurley Reading (Historic Buildings & Areas Advisor, English Heritage) and Matthew Pendleton (Conservation officer, Westminster planning department). Insufficient and confusing evidence, and probably insufficient to warrant a Grade II listing at present. Messrs. Reading and Taylor both suggest enlisting a historic buildings consultant – which would obviously require extensive access to the site and interior (difficult with a hostile freeholder, WKC) and expensive. The socio-economic demographic of the property being the only building remaining in today’s Soho of a Georgian working class residence is important, but exactly due to its lack of a notable occupant and therefore an incentive to maintain old structures, it is proving difficult to show preservation of any evidence of 18th century construction. The maps, of course, show clear evidence of the land site being occupied by workers’ cottages on Peter Street dating possibly to the 17th century. Billy Hurley made a suggestion to contact a Ms. Delcia Keate at English Heritage to proceed further.

Sent emails to the Revrds. Lindsay Meader and Lucy Winkett at St. James Church, Piccadilly. The Soho Foundry is within the parish of St. James                                      

5th November 2012    Received an email from Fr Alexander Sherbrooke, priest of St. Patrick’s, Soho Square, offering his support to Soho Foundry. St Patrick’s hosted the wonderful event by the Museum of Soho (MOSOHO) on 26th October. The church is on the site of Carlisle House, where Theresa Cornelys hosted the infamous parties in the 18th century

7th January 2013  Trenchard House, a large building fronting to Broadwick Street, bordered by Ingestre Place and Hopkins Street, which are adjacent to the Soho Foundry property. The building has had a shameful record of being left empty for some 20 years, previously occupied by young police. It  was reported to have been involved in a deal with Westminster Kingsway College to swap the current Soho site for space in Trenchard House. The developers desired to use part of the college for commercial development, and were clearly unable to do this due to the existing planning use for community/educational purposes. The pic shows building works very recently commenced                                                                                     TRENCHARD HSE 7-1-2013  Trenchard House 7th January 2013

TRENCHARD HSE 11-4-2013 Trenchard House 11th April 2013

20-4-2013  Props in the basement 20th April 2013

IMG039  IMG038                                              10th May 2013.  Trenchard House gone

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This post will be active throughout 2013

                                         (Pix Mark Teverson 30/8/2012) NB Evidence of bricks to adjoining buildings

(Click on images to enlarge, then click again to enlarge a specific area)

  Copperplate 1553-59 (LMA Various/2)

     Aggas (1,2,3 1560)(4 The Village 1578)

                                                     Braun & Hogenberg 1572 (LMA Ref RM4)

     Morgan 1681-82 (LMA Ref LM5/1)

                                                                                                                                   Rocque map 1746 (probably drawn circa. 1735) (LMA Ref RM6/B(a))

                                   ANCESTRY.COM ROCQUE 1746 Rocque 1746 (Source http://www.motco.com, http://www.freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com)

  Rocque 1746 ’10 miles around London’ (LMA RM6)

  Rhodes map 1770

Horwood map 1794-99 (LMA Ref RM9/B2)

  Horwood map 1819 (LMA Ref RM12/B2)

    Stamford 1862 (LMA RM17/10)

  OS 1869

  OS 1873-74

  OS 1894

Westminster City Council 2012

SOHO SOCIETY 2010  SURVEY OF LONDON 1963                                               Soho Society letter 2010, Survey of London F.H.Sheppard 1963

ITEM 07  Pages of Westminster planners’ reasons for refusal 21/8/2012            AGENDA 21-8-2012   ITEM 07-1 ITEM 07:2  ITEM 07:3  ITEM 07:4

Survey of London 1963                                                                                                                 

Westminster C.C. criteria for listing a building                                           

IF YOU CAN ASSIST WITH INFORMATION REGARDING THE HISTORY OF THE SCHOOLKEEPER’S HOUSE, END OF PETER STREET, W1F 0HS PLEASE CONTACT: markteverson@berwick-scg.co.uk

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