Architect seeks further reconfiguration of £250m fourth phase to deliver more smaller homes
Eric Parry Architects is seeking planning permission to boost the number of homes delivered in the £250m fourth phase of the Chelsea Barracks redevelopment, decreasing the number of large flats to make way for more one- and two-bedroom units.
It is the second time in less than a year that the architect has sought to increase the quantity of homes delivered via the three buildings that make up the phase. And the move comes after developer Qatari Diar confirmed it had paused work on the fourth phase just days before contractor Multiplex was due to start work.
BD understands this was because of uncertainty caused at the top end of the construction market by the Carillion collapse. Work is unlikely to restart before November. Groundworks and piling had already been completed.
Under the latest adjustments proposed for the Belgravia project, Eric Parry is looking to add six new flats to one of the fourth-phase blocks which would take the total number of units delivered in the phase to 97.
Changes to the original planning permission last year allowed alterations to the phase’s other blocks, increasing the number of flats from 88 to 91.
Documents supporting the application for a non-material amendment to its planning permission said the latest reconfiguration would see the number of four-bedroom apartments reduce from six to four, and the number of three-bedroom apartments reduce from 12 to 10. In return, six new two-bedroom flats and four new one-bed flats would be delivered, increasing the phase’s overall unit number by six.
The application overview said the move was intended to “provide more smaller units and offer a greater variety of new homes”.
Qatari Diar, which is owned by the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, said it was “considering how best to procure the subsequent building works in an increasingly difficult construction market”.
The firm said: “We are continuing to work together with all stakeholders towards an efficient and pragmatic outcome for the benefit of future residents.” It added that the scheme’s first-phase residents were due to move in by the middle of next year.
Despite commanding stratospheric price tags in comparison with homes in other parts of the country, home prices in “prime” areas of London have gone through challenging times of late. Property specialist Savills said in January that prime London prices dropped 3.5% in 2017 and warned that a return to growth was unlikely until greater clarity begins to emerge on the Brexit process.
Estate agents marketing homes that are part of the Chelsea Barracks scheme – some of which boast up to seven bedrooms – say “price on application” rather than offering a figure or range. One media report in 2017 suggested that the starting price of the first Chelsea Barracks homes was £5.75m
Qatari Diar paid the Ministry of Defence nearly £1bn for the Chelsea Barracks site in 2007 and commissioned Richard Rogers to draw up proposals for the site. However Rogers’ designs attracted criticism from Prince Charles, who told the Qatari royal family that the proposed scheme was out of keeping with the area.
The heir to the throne called it “a gigantic experiment with the very soul of our capital city” and Rogers was subsequently replaced on the project by Dixon Jones, Squire & Partners and landscape architect Kim Wilkie Associates.
Planning permission for 488 homes in blocks of eight storeys was secured in 2011, but the following year masterplanner Dixon Jones reported having to lay off around one third of its staff because of work stalling on the project.
Paul Davis & Partners, Ben Pentreath & Associates and Piercy & Company are also working on the scheme.