Battle over historic Belgravia timber yard site goes to the judges

MP backs Travis Perkins group’s legal challenge to Newson’s Timber Yard redevelopment

Friday, 14th April 2017

Travis Perkins

MP Mark Field, second from left, with Martin Meech, left, and Travis Perkins branch manager and assistant manager Paul Nigro and Samantha Walters

THE battle to save a historic timber yard in the heart of Belgravia, under threat from redevelopment, has reached a new milestone.

Travis Perkins, which manages the Newson’s Timber Yard in Pimlico Road, has been granted permission for a judicial review to challenge Westminster Council’s decision to let the Grosvenor Estate redevelop the yard into luxury flats and retail spaces.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition against the development and 350 people objected to the plans, with many urging for the history and local amenity to be protected. Judges will now decide whether the council acted lawfully in permitting the development to go ahead.

Travis Perkins group property director Martin Meech said: “With fresh leadership at the council and news that permission has been granted for a judicial review, we would strongly urge both the council and the Grosvenor Estate to relook at and assess the appetite for losing a historic, economically-proven and important building to the local community.”

The 175-year-old timber yard is believed to be the only remaining one from the Victorian period still in use.

Mark Field, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, who recently visited the yard, also pledged his support. “It is vitally important that businesses providing essential services like the timber yard are protected,” he said. “It was great to hear more about how the branch supplies many prominent local building projects and the globally known Chelsea Flower Show.”

Mr Meech added: “We are and will do everything we can to keep the timber yard, to both protect the jobs it provides to local people and the tradespeople, businesses and general customers it offers such a vital service to. Many of our long-serving colleagues at Pimlico Road have worked at the yard for over 20 years and are a binding part of the community.”

Grosvenor have said they want to turn Newson’s Yard and rest of the site, which is in the Belgravia Conservation Area, into an “independent design and retail district”. The development includes the demolition and reconstruction behind a retained façade of 41-43 and 57-63 Pimlico Road. They say they aim to preserve the historic character as they transform the site into four retail units, and seven homes for rent.

A Grosvenor spokesman said: “As an interested party, we are ready to assist the review in any way required.”

A council spokesman said: “We are confident that protecting the structure and history of the timber yard, while providing much-needed additional homes and four new retail units, is the way forward for this site.”

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