Planning Application Reviews
Please select the Planning page to see our responses to Westminster City Council on new planning applications within our area.
Proposed sculpture outside Westminster Central Hall
We support this application for the installation of the sculpture 'Homeless Jesus' in front of the Methodist Hall on Storey's Gate.
The sculpture is very moving and is appropriate in this location, near where there is so much wealth and yet so many rough sleepers.
We welcome non-members to most of our visits.
As members will already be aware, Pippa Parsons will not be continuing to organise the visits programme, wishing to spend more time with her family. With grateful thanks to her for the high standard of visits she organised over several years and we are now searching for her replacement. Please contact us if you know someone or could yourself fill her boots !
The following visits are still to run:
Thurs 28th January 2016 @ 11am - Lancaster House
Tues 1st March 2016 @ 10.30am - 55 Broadway (TFL) (Not included in programme below. Please specify & complete form in the usual way)
For further details and booking form, click below.
Objection to proposed cycle stands in Queen Anne's Gate
We have written a formal objection to the siting of cycle stands in front of some of the best preserved and attractive early eighteenth centry houses in London.
Please see our letter in full on our Planning page. FM Conway Ltd is the service provider carrying out the consultation on behalf of Westminster City Council.
Thorney Tales (6) - St Margaret's Church, the amazing history of a window
The beautiful stained glass window which dominates the east side of
St Margaret's Church can best be described as ill-timed. It was
created in Holland around 1526 to celebrate the marriage of Henry
VIII to Catherine of Aragon. But by the time it had been finished
Henry had become besotted with Anne Boleyn. Henry is depicted
in saintly contemplation in the panel at the bottom left of the window
while on the right hand side of the window Catherine, against an
almost identical background, is also deep in prayer. Both appear to
be looking at the Crucifixion which occupies the whole of the central
panel of the window.
When Henry's marriage was annulled in 1533 the window could no
longer be placed in Westminster Abbey where it had been intended
to memorialise one of the great royal marriages intended to bring
peace to the warring nations of Spain and England. Instead it
embarked on an extraordinary series of journeys like no other
stained glass window.
At first, it was dispatched to the ancient religious house of Waltham
Abbey in Essex to be out of sight and out of mind. There it remained
until the Dissolution of the Monasteries when it became a double
embarrassment because of its association with a doomed Royal
marriage and the imagery of a discarded Catholic religion.
Somehow it survived and was transferred to a private chapel at New
Hall in Essex where its Catholic symbolism would be less noticed. It
then came into the ownership of General Monk, a Royalist who also
served with distinction under Cromwell, who apparently buried it to
hide it from fanatical Puritans. Courtesy of The British Museum
It was subsequently purchased by Edward Conyers of Copped Hall in Essex where Mary Tudor was imprisoned and where Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream was first performed. Its Cook's Tour continued when Conyer's son sold it in 1758 to the inhabitants of St Margaret’s for 400 guineas.
Then it starts getting complicated. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster regarded it as Popish imagery and started a lawsuit seeking its removal. The dispute lasted seven years. It was the religious equivalent of Charles Dickens’ perpetual law suite in Bleak House, Jarndyce v Jarndyce. Fortunately for us all, the law suite failed and the stained glass window can now be enjoyed by all, hopefully in perpetuity.
New Scotland Yard, 10 Broadway
UPDATE - 10th DECEMBER 2015 (See our response on the Planning page)
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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
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.
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.
Newsletter Autumn 2015
Panorama of The Thames Project
© 2015 Panorama of the Thames Ltd
© 2015 Panorama of the Thames Ltd
The beautifully restored 1829 Panorama of the Thames - A Georgian View of London has just been published by Thames and Hudson and we are happy to have acquired a copy for our Archives.
Please read further about this project.