The developer behind Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners’ Chelsea Barracks scheme in west London has launched an all-out attack on English Heritage’s attempt to list a Victorian chapel at the centre of the site
Correspondence obtained under freedom of information provisions shows that DP9, the planning consultant acting on behalf of developer Project Blue, has attempted to discredit EH’s grade II listing recommendation, claiming it was made in reaction to development plans rather than on the merits of the building.
The allegation has been strongly denied by EH, which said it was “entirely inaccurate”.
In a letter to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport — which is considering the listing request — DP9 said it had received new information about the listing process as a result of its own FOI request.
“An EH memorandum dated 11 July 2008 to the DCMS states that the chapel and railings ‘are standardish’ but that the reason to endorse listing is the potential redevelopment of the site,” it said.
“This information makes clear that an immaterial consideration was a key factor taken into account by EH when recommending listing in 2008.”
In earlier objections to the listing, Project Blue had highlighted EH’s decision not to list the chapel 10 years ago, before its fittings and fixtures had been stripped.
The Belgravia Residents’ Association, which had originally objected to the Chelsea Barracks development but now backs the revised plan, has also written to the DCMS to ask that the listing be refused.
But a spokeswoman for EH said: “It is entirely inaccurate to suggest that EH’s advice has been influenced or swayed by the redevelopment of the site.
“Whilst our comprehensive advice may reference the redevelopment of the site, it does so purely for contextual purposes; redevelopment of this or any other site can never constitute criterion for recommending listing.”
EH was backed by Ian Dungavell, director of the Victorian Society, who agreed that DP9’s evidence did not prove that the recommendation was improper.