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Recent Success in Westminster

The proposals sought changes of use and associated works to six properties within a terrace in Covent Garden.

Whilst all of the properties within this terrace were let to retailers, the upper floors of each were under-utilised back of house areas, often containing large areas of unused space. The application, which was submitted prior to the creation of the new Class E use class, sought to change the upper floors to a mixture of residential and office uses. Within one of the properties a flexible, dual residential and office use was proposed, which provided the applicant the flexibility to change between the two uses to respond to demand. One of the property’s within the terrace was Grade II Listed and a number of internal alterations were proposed to enable the change of use.

Despite a policy presumption to protect retail floorspace within the borough’s Central Activities Zone, Boyer were able to set out persuasive arguments which highlighted that the ground floor retail uses would remain, thereby protecting the retail character of the area. In relation to the change of use of the upper floors Boyer highlighted changes in retail trends and retailers’ reduced requirements for ancillary floorspace, particularly in multi-storey retail units. Boyer also identified evidence which demonstrated the pressing need for additional office and residential accommodation within the borough

In determining the application, the Planning Officer confirmed that the proposals would protect the retail character of this important shopping location, whilst acknowledging the need for flexibility given the changes to the retail sector. Boyer continues to work on projects throughout Westminster City Council, and look forward to a continued successful working relationship with Lothbury.

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