Redevelopment, originally approved last year, sees number of flats increase by a quarter

Amended plans for Foster & Partners’ controversial £1 billion redevelopment of Whiteleys shopping centre in west London have been approved by Westminster council.

The original scheme was OK’d last year but attracted fierce opposition from heritage groups including Historic England, Save Britain’s Heritage and the Victorian Society who all objected to the plans which involve turning the centre into a block of luxury flats.

Though some façades will be retained, the store, which was rebuilt in 1912, will be gutted and its distinctive Edwardian glass domes removed. A 1980s building at the site will be torn down.

Modifications were imposed by the council’s planning committee when the scheme was granted approval last March.

Changes include reducing the height of the two rear towers by one floor and the new top storey remodelled to form a recessed roof.

The original 10-storey scheme would have seen 103 flats built but this has gone up a quarter to 129 – because of an increase in the number of one and two bedroom flats from 44 to 78 and by cutting the number of four bedroom homes from 37 to just seven.

As well as conservation groups, local residents also objected to the plans which are the centrepiece of a wider scheme to spruce up Queensway.

But Westminster’s planning chair Richard Beddoe said: “We believe the changes now strike the correct balance between the size of the building and benefits to local people.”

The scheme will also shops, a gym, a boutique hotel, an underground cinema and a crèche. It is being developed by Whiteleys owner, property investment fund Meyer Bergman.