Dolphin Square: Special Update

It is now fairly certain that the Dolphin Square planning application will be put before the Planning Committee by the end of April.

Since the outset of the proposal your local Conservative councillors, Jim Glen, Angela Harvey and James Spencer have been listening closely to residents, taking on board their views and concerns about the major redevelopment of the Square.

They have also worked with council officers and the applicants, meeting with them to discuss the many issues residents have with the proposal.

Every month, the councillor surgeries in Dolphin Square have been extremely well attended, and thanks must go to everyone who has attended and contributed some really well researched and powerful arguments.

Jim and James have some serious concerns with the planning application.

Demolition of the north side of Dolphin Square: Rodney House

Dolphin Square is in a conservation area. Planning rules state that to demolish anything in a conservation area, there needs to be a public benefit to justify this demolition. We do not believe that the proposals pass this test. These proposals make Rodney House more like a hotel than it already is, as all the rooms will be smaller and there will be more of them.

Reduction in Family Sized Units

Current and future policy as stated in the City Plan seeks to preserve a mix of different sized units for residential accommodation in Westminster, so families are not forced to move out as they expand. These plans for Dolphin Square propose 284 more studio flats, 21 fewer one-bedroom flats and 33 fewer two bedroom or larger flats - including all the serviced apartments and the new townhouses on the western carriageway. This is not the mix of housing needed to keep families in Westminster.

Height, Light and Sense of Enclosure

The proposed redevelopment would make Dolphin Square 11 storeys high and increase the dominance of this building within three conservation areas. Not only would the proposed four storeys higher north side of Dolphin Square tower over the whole of Pimlico Academy and Primary School, the proposed increase in height of the internal projection of Rodney House over the current gym and swimming pool to a 10-storey block will cause a great loss of light to many of the windows in the lower floors facing into the square.

Density

The proposed plan will increase the density (the ratio of habitable rooms per hectare) to a level that far exceeds the recommendations of the current Westminster City Plan and the current London Plan from the GLA. As it stands Dolphin Square already exceeds these levels. To propose increasing the density here, in one of the most densely built urban schemes in Westminster, in one of the most densely built areas of the London is concerning. More housing is needed in central London, but there are better places to build it, even in Westminster.

Destruction of a Listed Garden

The gardens of Dolphin Square are registered at Grade II, the reasons for listing given by English Heritage include Rarity, Historic interest and Degree of survival. The garden is only original once. The currently proposed scheme would tear up the original design entirely and replace it with a twenty first century garden. However faithful this new design is to the ‘original vison’ it will not be the original, listed, garden.

Jim and James submitted their opposition to the proposals last week. Their full document is available on the planning portal on the Council’s website here: search for the application using the reference: 18/01099/FULL. Angela will be submitting her representation soon, so please do get in touch with any questions or suggestions that you think should be added to your councillors’ submissions.