Watchdog launches scathing attack on plans to redevelop Westminster office block

Architecture adviser Design Council Cabe has attacked the designs for two huge Land Securities developments near Victoria station in Westminster, writes Tim Clark.

The comments relate to plans submitted by the developer to Westminster council for a £150m redevelopment of Kingsgate House on Victoria Street as well as a separate development next to the Victoria Palace Theatre.

The body said in a statement that Kingsgate House should not be given planning permission until designs were improved. It said: “We welcome the provision of new public spaces […] however we are cautious about how the public realm will be used and whether it will be as successful as anticipated.

“We think further work is required to achieve aspirations for the scheme and this should be addressed prior to planning permission being granted.”

The watchdog was equally scathing about the Victoria Palace Theatre development, saying it felt the residential part of the design would be “very unpleasant for residents” and that the proposed library would benefit from a more distinct character “to distinguish it as a public building”.

Westminster council is expected to make a planning decision on the project on 6 October. Land Securities was unavailable for comment.