A charity has opposed the demolition of a Royal Mail office and the building of the Paddington Cube .
The Victorian Society, which champions Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales, is again upset at plans to knock down the “handsome” building with its distinctive Baroque detailing, and replace it with a building which it said is “not sensitive to the character of the area”.
It describes the Victorian built building as “one of many important structures around Paddington Station reflecting the development of the railways in the 19th and early 20th centuries when Paddington became one of Britain’s great railway termini”.
The charity has urged Westminster City Council to turn down the planning application for the Paddington regeneration, which is expected to be discussed before the end of the year.
As recently as 2010, the council recognised the former Sorting Office as a "building of merit", describing it as “an attractive unlisted building" that "occupies a key position between Paddington Station and St Mary’s Hospital " and "an important link to the historical auxiliary uses of the station.”
The Cube is the centrepiece of the Paddington Quarter project and it will stand 14 stories tall.
The Victorian Society believes that the public benefits of the Paddington Cube can be delivered without the demolition of the building, and wants the council to “use Paddington’s architectural heritage to enhance local redevelopment rather than undermining it”.
The charity’s director, Christopher Costelloe, said: “We object to the demolition of the sorting office, but even if it were to be demolished, the kind of design proposed is not sensitive to the character of the area.”
The Victorian Society’s senior conservation adviser, James Hughes, said: “Demolition of the locally listed Royal Mail sorting and delivery office would affect views from Praed Street and from the station as well as cause substantial harm to the character and appearance of the Bayswater Conservation Area.
"Its loss would harm the setting of many listed buildings - Grade I listed Paddington Station but also the Great Western Hotel, the entrance to Paddington London Underground Station, Tournament House and the Mint and Clarence Memorial Wings of St Mary’s Hospital.”
Great Western Developments (GWD) and its development partner Sellar Paddington Limited (SPL) submitted their proposal for Paddington Quarter to Westminster City Council in September.
An earlier application for building on the site was withdrawn due to opposition to the proposed 72-storey building, dubbed the Skinny Shard.
The Former Paddington Sorting and Delivery Office at 31 London Street, London was designed by architect Sir Henry Tanner in 1892 and extended in 1907 by Jasper Wager.
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