SILVER dealer Daniel Bexfield has claimed a moral victory over the Burlington Arcade planning row after most of the controversial proposals were withdrawn – and others turned down at the consultation meeting on December 8.
Westminster Council approved only part of the watered down plans last Thursday, having noted that the public submitted more than 500 individual responses commenting on them, only one of which was in support.
By Thursday's meeting, proposals for art installations by Anthony Gormley (and the lighting they required) had been withdrawn, along with another for mosaic marble flooring.
Fears that the existing brickwork would be overpainted proved to be unfounded while an application to repaint areas in off white were deemed in keeping with the original condition of the Georgian building.
At the meeting the Council granted proposals for concealed uplighting (judged to be of at least as much merit as the existing lighting design, which is not original) but turned down the revised plan for paving the arcade floor in a single, neutral-coloured stone (they wished to see the use of more than one colour).
Daniel Bexfield, who has led the campaign against the plans, declared himself "absolutely delighted" with the results adding that the Council "understood the concept of the arcade and the essence of its small businesses".
Not covered by the current planning application is the number and size of shop units within the arcade and it is thought that co-owners Meyer Bergman and Joseph Sitt of Thor Equities want to amalgamate more of them to create a smaller number of large single units to appeal more to leading luxury brands.
Nonetheless, the Council's planning documents note: "The number and size of the shops contributes significantly to the character of the arcade. Whilst the city council has no control over the types of retailers who may occupy the units, it would have control over proposals to amalgamate units to form larger shops, because this would require physical alterations which would require listed building consent."
By Roland Arkell
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