The City of Westminster’s new planning policy

Last month Westminster Council blocked plans to create one of the most valuable apartments in the world in The Knightsbridge. The plan was to combine two separate penthouses into a single 15,000 square foot, ten bedroom home complete with a cinema. The proposal was ultimately turned down because the local authority claimed it would be a loss of housing stock.

The situation showcases a change in approach from Westminster Council. In the past two similar plans, dated 2006 and 2010 respectively, were accepted. The new outlook comes at a time when there is pressure to create more homes rather than risk losing them. It complies with the new planning policy the local authority adopted in 2016.

The proposed home would have been worth in excess of £115 million. The first penthouse was purchased in 2006 for £15.2 million. In May 2017 the second property was purchased for £90 million plus stamp duty of £13.5 million.

A planning law expert claimed the project would have only resulted in the loss of one family home, accounting for 0.0008% of the housing stock in the City of Westminster. The local authority responded by saying that if they accepted all of the applications they received for similar projects it would actually account to almost 300 homes.

It is interesting to see Westminster Council sticking to their goals to increase housing stock rather than lose it.

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