The company behind a development in Mayfair which means seven dealers will not have their leases renewed have promised to dedicate space for art galleries in the new scheme.
The pledge is written into the planning
application submitted to Westminster Council by developers Native
Land, but it is not clear whether the gallery space will be offered
to those dealers faced with moving out of the existing
One dealer told ATG last week that he was
"as much in the dark as anybody" over the plan and had heard very
little from Native Land, the owner of the site, between 29-30 Old
Burlington Street and 22-27 Cork Street (where the galleries are
With his lease up in June, James Mayor of
The Mayor Gallery says he has heard nothing about either a lease
extension or the possibility of a place in any new arcade.
The planning application was only listed by
Westminster council on February 18 (ref 13/01715/FULL). It involves
"demolition of the existing building and construction of a new
building comprising nine floors above ground and three basement
levels, including retail (Class A1) (of which a minimum of 994m2
GIA shall be occupied by Art Galleries)" and also "a publicly
accessible arcade at ground floor level".
On their website, Native Land chief
executive Alasdair Nicholls said: "We expect 30 Old Burlington
Street to become the most sought-after development in Mayfair. It
will satisfy international and domestic demand for new-build
accommodation in an area boasting London's finest restaurants,
shopping and galleries." The statement added that they had been
"consulting on its plans since September" ahead of the
But Mr Mayor said: "We are not really told
anything. We are much in the dark as anybody. I don't understand
what is going on. Some people have been offered an extension to
their lease to the end of the year, but I haven't heard a
He said a request for space in the new
development had not been answered, and added: "I have no more idea
of what's happening than anybody else, it is in the hands of the
planners and we are contesting it."
Although Native Land have committed to the
art gallery space in writing, Class A1 has no specific provision
for such use - it is for "shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers,
undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices (but not
sorting offices), pet shops, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic
hire shops, dry cleaners, funeral directors and internet
ATG asked Native Land how they would ensure
that the space would definitely be used by art galleries - would
they be offered reduced rents, for instance - but had yet to
receive a response as we went to press.
When news of the proposed development first
broke last summer, campaigners launched Save Cork Street to protect
the galleries, and an online petition had attracted more than
13,000 signatures by last week.
One suggestion is to create a Special Policy
Area for Cork Street to safeguard the art and antiques galleries
deemed synonymous with the area - as has happened with tailors on
Savile Row and the private clubs and art galleries in St
In October last year it also emerged that five galleries at 5-9
Cork Street faced relocation because of a separate scheme - meaning
that half the 22 galleries in the street will have to move if the
two redevelopments are approved.