SAVE launches fundraising appeal for Paddington Cube legal costs ahead of High Court hearing on 1st November

19 October 2017

SAVE launches fundraising appeal for Paddington Cube legal costs ahead of High Court hearing on 1st November

In the run-up to our judicial review hearing in the High Court of Justice on 1st November, SAVE has launched a fundraising appeal towards legal costs against the highly controversial proposals known as ‘The Paddington Cube’. 

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SAVE’s judicial review focuses on the Secretary of State’s refusal to call-in for public inquiry the west London proposals, principally his refusal to give reasons for his decision. This challenge has potentially wide-reaching implications - it goes to the heart of transparent and accountable government decision making. SAVE considers ministerial decisions must stand up to robust scrutiny - the duty of government to give reasons for decisions is relevant to anyone involved with the planning system.

The scheme, approved by Westminster City Council in August, would see the demolition of a handsome former Edwardian Royal Mail sorting office replaced by a 19-storey office block in the Bayswater Conservation Area, right next to Brunel’s grade I listed Paddington Station.

SAVE’s fundraising appeal is for our legal costs associated with this challenge. Our target is £2,500. Please consider supporting our appeal here – every donation helps.

The Paddington Cube proposals are not only controversial because of heritage concerns. In September 2017, the Imperial College NHS Trust issued its own separate judicial review challenge seeking to quash the planning permission. This is based on major concerns about blue light emergency access to the hospital if the plans are implemented in their current form.

SAVE, the Victorian Society and the Imperial College NHS Trust which operates nearby St Mary's Paddington each asked the Secretary of State to call in the application for an independent public inquiry. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid turned down those requests in March 2017.

Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage said: “SAVE is fighting this challenge in the High Court, not only because we believe the Paddington Cube demolition proposals rip up so-called Conservation Area protection written into legislation, but because this case highlights an important principle in accountable government and transparent decision making. What does the government have to hide?”

Marcus Binney, Executive President of SAVE said: "Hugely controversial and damaging proposals such as the Paddington Cube must be subject to full open scrutiny and discussion at a public inquiry.  Instead they were decided by a cabal of just four councillors. The Minister's refusal to give a single reason for his refusal to hold an inquiry favours property interests over the legitimate concerns of London's citizens”.

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For more information and additional images contact SAVE on 0207 253 3500 or 

Notes to editors

1. The proposed 'Paddington Cube' is a 19-storey, 54m-office tower proposal, adjacent to the Grade I listed Paddington Station and within the Bayswater Conservation Area. Its construction would require the demolition of a handsome former Royal Mail sorting office, a noted building of merit within the Conservation Area. The Conservation Area defined by handsome stucco terraces and Georgian and Victorian buildings of up to six-storeys. This proposal sets a dangerous precedent, and sends out the message that Westminster is abandoning once exemplary conservation and design policies.

2. The former Royal Mail sorting office, built in 1907, has a major presence beside Brunel's great station, with handsome Edwardian Baroque detailing, and makes a positive contribution to the Conservation Area. Demolition would cause substantial harm to the Bayswater Conservation Area and the setting of surrounding listed buildings.

3. In December 2016, Westminster City Council’s Planning Committee granted planning permission for the Paddington Cube, despite the unanimous acknowledgment that the plans would cause harm to the Conservation Area. Strong objections were submitted from SAVE, Historic England, The Victorian Society, and local residents, which were ignored. Historic England described the proposal as being, ‘fundamentally at odds with the prevailing character of...the conservation area’, and considered it would have a, 'major harmful impact'.

4. Further concerns were raised by the Imperial College NHS Trust which operates St Mary's Hospital Paddington, due to the proposal’s impact on blue light emergency access routes for ambulances. The Trust has submitted its own separate judicial review proceedings against the proposals regarding emergency access routes.

5. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architectural historians, writers, journalists and planners. It is a strong, independent voice in conservation, free to respond rapidly to emergencies and to speak out loud for the historic built environment.

Press release issued by SAVE Britain’s Heritage
70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
Registered Charity 269129
Tel. 020 7253 3500  Email
Follow SAVE on Twitter: @SAVEBrit