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Fierce opposition to Maida Vale mansion block development

Mark Knopfler sold three-storey garage to development firm Widley Road Limited

17 November, 2017 — By William McLennan

The garages in Widley Road

PLANS to build flats in a street of red-brick Maida Vale mansion blocks have been met with fierce opposition from residents who say their complaints have been ignored by developers.

The former garage in Widley Road will be bull-dozed to make way for 23 flats, which architects believe will blend seamlessly into the exiting row of Victorian homes.

But neighbours fear their homes will be cast into shadow and their privacy will be shattered by the six-storey block overlooking them. They also worry about the impact on traffic.

The three-storey 1930s car garage was sold by Mark Knopfler to the development firm Widley Road Limited in June for £7million.

Plans were first submitted to Westminster Council in November, but have since been updated and developers said they have been “refined in response to the feedback received”.

Despite the public consultation, scores of neighbours have aligned in opposition.

More than 130 comments, the vast majority lengthy criticisms, have been filed with the council ahead of a hearing. One objector wrote: “I would like feedback given to the developers that this process has been very stressful for the residents of the area. Many of us attended a meeting in February with them where we were told that they wanted to work with us. However, none of our objections about right to light, privacy, scale and parking have been addressed properly.”

Another neighbour told the council: “Please protect our neighbourhood. The building looks too modern for the surrounding area. Many of us have lived here for decades for a reason. The current residents will be negatively affected on a large scale, if this building is permitted.”

One young neighbour said: “I am nine years old and have lived in one of the basement flats on Essendine Road all my life. I play in my garden every day and like that it is quiet and peaceful. There are lots of trees but there’s also lots of daylight so I can see my football. This building can not go up as it will block out the light to my home and it will be darker. If there are windows with other families in them, they will be able to see straight into our house.”

Another said: “I am disappointed that the developers have not taken the local residents’ comments into consideration. Only minor amendments have been made.”

Maida Vale Labour councillor Rita Begum said: “These amendments change little and do not go far enough to address the issues raised by ourselves and local residents during the original consultation. I will be speaking against the proposal when it comes to Planning Committee later this year.”

In a statement, Widley Road Limited, said: “We have undertaken extensive public engagement over the course of this year, including two public consultations. The scheme has evolved to take into account the comments given to us by the local community including addressing privacy issues and ensuring no trees will be lost.

“The proposals will now deliver 12 parking spaces for residents off- street with a further three new spaces created on- street. We are providing affordable housing on-site and believe the development will make a positive contribution to the neighbourhood and City of Westminster.”

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