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Westminster Council consult on Church Street regeneration plans

PUBLISHED: 15:42 13 March 2019

Church Street in 2019. Picture: Westminster City Council

Church Street in 2019. Picture: Westminster City Council

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Westminster Council is consulting locals on the next stage of its plans to build more than 1,600 homes in the historic Church Street area on the edge of Lisson Grove.

Group photograph taken outside the Hall Arms, Church Street, [c1905]. Picture: Westminster City ArchivesGroup photograph taken outside the Hall Arms, Church Street, [c1905]. Picture: Westminster City Archives

Church Street has been home to a market since at least 1830.But the Labour opposition is not convinced the proposals will offer enough genuinely affordable housing to meet demand.

The town hall has presented options including maintaining the existing buildings and an extensive redevelopment in its consultation – which runs from March 7 to April 18.

In 2017 the council consulted residents on its overall vision for the area. Based on that exercise, the most ambitious option would see 1,600 new homes built adjacent to Church Street, 130 new homes built close to Lilestone Street, and 190 homes where the council’s old offices are in Orchardson Street. The council say “around half” of these would be affordable homes – capped at 80 per cent of market rent.

The plans could also include community facilities including a new “community, health and wellbeing hub”.

Church Street, south side, showing the entrance to the old Marylebone Theatre, 1953, photograph by R Burnett. Picture: Westminster City ArchivesChurch Street, south side, showing the entrance to the old Marylebone Theatre, 1953, photograph by R Burnett. Picture: Westminster City Archives

The council’s regeneration lead, Cllr Rachel Robathan, said: “This is an exciting time and I am passionate about delivering something really positive for our Church Street community. We want to get a really clear idea of what works best for local people, before any decisions are made.”

However Church Street ward councillor Cllr Matt Noble – who is also the opposition Labour Party’s regeneration spokesperson – said: “Based on the 2017 master plan document, option 4 looks most likely, which after reproviding existing council homes delivers less than a third affordable housing of any category.

“Putting this into context, there are over 2600 Westminster families staying in temporary accommodation and lower quartile rent on a 2 bedroom flat is 91% of lower quartile earnings.”

Cllr Noble said he did not know why the council hadn’t applied for a pot of money from the mayor’s £1bn fund for council housing.

One resident, Elsie, said she thought the plans were “lovely” and would “enhance the beauty” of the area.

The council is asking for people to become part of the council’s engaged residents’ group, and to take part in discussions with planners and architects about the proposals.

Plans can be viewed at 35-37 Church Street bween 10am and 4pm, on Monday to Friday. Details can also be found at churchstreet.org

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