Construction work to start for 781-home council housing scheme

Westminster council has granted planning approval for a controversial £350m development, after it used permitted development rights to fast-track permission to demolish a 1930s estate in Pimlico.

The authority said its 781-home Ebury Bridge scheme, designed by Astudio Architects, will be the borough’s “largest and most significant redevelopment project in a generation”.

Central Square_Haze (1)

Permitted development laws were used to approve the demolition of the historic Ebury Bridge Estate to make way for the scheme

Last May the council appointed Bouygues main contractor to the £100m first phase of the project which is due to start this summer. The project includes 239 council homes and overall 53% of properties will be classed as affordable.

The green light comes after the council was accused of “underhand and unscrupulous” behaviour by the Labour party after it used permitted development rights to fast-track demolition of the existing 336-home Ebury Bridge Estate in Pimlico via a prior approval process.

Labour’s London Assembly housing spokesperson Tom Copley said in 2019 that the move amounted to Westminster council “using all the loopholes at their disposal to rush through these underhand and unscrupulous demolition plans”.

The council, which called Labour’s intervention “extraordinary” given the capital’s shortage of affordable housing, has defended the “exemplar” scheme.

It insisted that the scheme, which will contain 50% affordable homes, “aims to set new standards in large-scale central London estate regeneration and provide a national example in engaging residents and reaching new targets for sustainability”.

The council also said the new development will cut carbon emissions by 90% compared to the current estate.

The overall scheme was granted planning by then London mayor Boris Johnson in 2015.

John F Hunt has been chosen to carry out demolition works at the Ebury Bridge housing estate ahead of work to build new housing at the site.

The development will go up in the shadow of the upmarket residential job being built by Mace and Multiplex for Qatari Diar at Chelsea Barracks.

Project team

Astudio – Architect lead designer

Arup – Lead consultant, planning and multi-disciplinary

Levitt Bernstein and Arup – Landscape architects

Gardner and Theobold – Project management and quantity surveyors

City Designer – Townscape and heritage

Malcom Hollis – Daylight and sunlight

Ebury Bridge estate

The Ebury Bridge estate was built in the 1930s