Proposal for 1 Bedford Avenue and 251-258 Tottenham Court Road

11th September 2013

The Committee has objected to this current proposal for a new office and retail block on several counts- below is the summary of the objection:

1.The height of the proposed building is important as it sets a precedent for the whole of this part of Tottenham Court Road, affecting the area bounded by Bayley Street, Morwell Street and Bedford Street and Bedford Square and the rest of the conservation area to the east. It is blatantly not of ‘appropriate height and density…while respecting the surrounding context’, and does not ‘create a sensitive interface with the conservation area, under Opportunity Sites criteria.

2. Views from Bedford Square, a unique grade 1 listed square, are of paramount importance. The proposed building should therefore not be visible from the eastern end of Bedford Square.

3. The proposed development makes no attempt to compromise with the Bloomsbury Conservation Area,  and should be scaled down in order to comply with the requirement that the conservation area should be conserved and enhanced. It ’causes harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area’.

4. If the development is permitted to be seen at all from Bedford Square, the Morwell Street elevation must be redesigned. The present light stone horizontal banding that would be visible behind Bedford Square (see Bedford Square A) is almost wilfully in conflict with the vertical emphasis of the Georgian facades, and for those reasons of design and colour would be far more obtrusive than the existing brick Morwell Street elevation.

5. The street frontage in Morwell Street needs to be activated with shop/office frontages along its length, not dead frontage and service areas. If not, a huge opportunity will be lost. It should not be regarded as a ‘service street’.

6. Reconstituted stone is totally inappropriate for a major development in Tottenham Court Road, with its past history and heritage of high quality buildings.

7. The remains of the ‘heritage’ Fitzroy Doll Byzantine Edwardian facades on Tottenham Court Road and Bedford Avenue should be conserved and built into the scheme, making it a landmark rather than just another featureless monolith. These are important to the history of the area, monuments to the war and the Bedford Estate’s foremost Edwardian architect.’