Listing blow for Holloway residents in Beaux Arts Building battle
PUBLISHED: 17:41 29 September 2010
English Heritage rejects bid to protect landmark building
ENGLISH Heritage has dealt a massive blow to residents battling to save the “spectacular” entrance foyer of their landmark building from developers.
The conservation group has turned down an application to get the Beaux Arts Building, in Manor Gardens, Holloway, listed as a building of national importance.
The accolade would have severely hindered property firm Bloomfold in its controversial bid to convert part of the recently refurbished foyer into three luxury flats.
The scheme has outraged residents of building’s existing 190 homes - including composers, actresses, art critics and City financiers - who united to lodge an application to get it nationally listed.
But a new report by an English Heritage inspector states: “The foyer area is a good survival of an Edwardian interior and thus has claims to special interest, but it constitutes a small element in this huge building and is not of such quality or rarity to weight the case in favour of listing.”
The English Heritage report says the “monumental” Beaux Arts Building is “a striking building of considerable townscape interest”.
But it concludes: “In the national context however, it falls below the standard required for designation.”
Lisa Millar, chairwoman of the Beaux Arts Residents Association (BARA), said: “We’re disappointed that listing was refused, but we’re very pleased English Heritage recognised the exceptional quality of the lobby, which gives so much pleasure to hundreds of people each year, and the building’s clear local architectural and historical interest. We hope that Islington Council takes these comments into account in reaching their decision.”
Bloomfold’s proposals, revealed by the Gazette in March, are yet to be heard at an Islington Council planning committee – almost eight months after a planning application was first submitted.
The firm has become so infuriated at the council’s delays over a separate application for an extension of three more flats in the Beaux Arts Building’s car park that it has now taken the matter up directly with the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.
Ms Millar added: “Residents feel as strongly as ever over the car park proposal and are writing to the Planning Inspectorate to make their objections known.”
Beaux Arts residents Max Stafford-Clarke, one of Britain’s leading theatre directors, and Cherie Blair’s former style guru Carole Caplin have both spoken out against the plans, labelling the developers as “greedy”.
Bloomfold claims both planning applications “respect the history and splendour” of the building - originally constructed by the Royal Mail in 1909 and converted into flats in 1995.
Famous examples of the “Beaux-Arts” style of architecture include Central Station in New York and the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.