Redevelopment of Langham Street and Great Portland Street buildings threatens small businesses

A proposal to redevelop a group of buildings in Fitzrovia would force out existing small businesses and mean a significant loss of small office space if the plans get approval from Westminster City Council this winter. The office to residential conversion includes part demolition and extensions on buildings along the boundary of the East Marylebone and Harley Street conservation areas on the corner of Langham Street and Great Portland Street.

Corner of building.

Redevelopment plans for 36-40 Langham Street (red brick facade) and 94 Great Portland Street (yellow brick corner building).

The planning application states that the buildings are in poor condition and are in need of refurbishment. Number 94 Great Portland Street is a late 18th century Georgian building with four storeys and a basement. Numbers 36, 38 and 40 Langham Street all date from the 18th century, but was re-fronted around 1900, and each comprises five storeys and a basement. All of the buildings on the site are currently primarily in B1 office use. There is some limited residential use at the top two levels of number 38 Langham Street.

Number 94 Great Portland Street and numbers 38 and 40 Langham Street are all listed at Grade ll. Number 36 Langham Street is not listed but is classified as an unlisted building of merit. The Langham Street buildings are located in the East Marylebone Conservation Area while 94 Great Portland Street is located in the Harley Street Conservation Area. The boundary between the two Conservation Areas passes through the site.

Owners Central London Property Trust propose adding a roof extension across all the buildings, demolishing behind a facade of the non-listed number 36 and the Grade II listed number 94, and extending at the rear of the site. The railings along Langham Street will be extended. The commercial use will be retained on the ground and basement on the Great Portland Street part while the Langham Street part would be entirely residential. Seventeen apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms would be built.

Fitzrovia News has seen comments submitted in response to the application which state objections to the loss of the small office space and objections to the proposed building extensions because of the impact on the listed buildings and the character of the two conservation areas and neighbouring listed buildings.

The Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Forum has also made a number of comments on the application expressing concern about the loss of the small business units and the nature of the proposed development.

One of the small businesses that would have to leave is Fitzrovia’s last remaining record shop, If Music. The shop is known for its annual pavement acoustic gatherings as part of the annual Record Store Day.

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