Mews residents fight underground car park plan

Residents of a picturesque mews that was home to the late actress Dame Thora Hird are launching a campaign against plans to build an underground car park beneath their quiet cul-de-sac.

Dozens of residents say Leinster Mews in Bayswater, which has a Grade II listed arch entrance, would be turned into a “service yard” for a new luxury apartment block.

A planning application has been submitted to convert the Leinster House Hotel, on Lancaster Gate, into a nine-apartment building with access to a new basement car stacker from the back of the property in Leinster Mews.

A service entrance to the building would be located in the mews to allow access for refuse collections.

Residents of the mews – where the Last of the Summer Wine star lived until her death in 2003 – are fighting the plans which they say will ruin the unique “village” feel of the street.

Ian Webb, 55, said: “I don’t think anybody is resistant to doing the building up, but it seems odd that there will only be nine flats for the rich when it can take up to 200 people at the moment.

“This is a beautiful old mews and the problem is that people feel the quality of it will be diminished quite considerably.

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“We can’t see how the cars will even be able to go round the corner and there will be a noisy car stacker there.

“Everything that they want to put out of the way will be in the mews. We will have the smell of the bins and it will be bunged up at the entrance.

“I don’t think we are nimbys, but our amenities and the quality of the mews are being diminished.”

Fellow resident Turlogh O’Brien, 69, says the scheme will also force the two existing car-parking spaces on the mews to be removed.

“They are treating the mews as their service yard,” he said. “We would have bins being pulled out and left outside clogging up the entrance to the mews. All of it is quite unacceptable.”

The objectors are backed by South East Bayswater Residents’ Association, which is consulted by Westminster Council on all local planning applications.

Speaking about the car stacker, association chairman John Zamit said: “It’s a totally impractical location which will not only cause noise and inconvenience for the residents but also spoil the character of the mews.”

Savills estate agents, who are behind the proposals, declined to comment.