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Charity's anger at plans to demolish listed building to make way for new 14-storey 'cube' in Paddington

The Victorian Society is calling on Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid to intervene following the approval for the Paddington Cube

A charity is calling on the government to call in the decision to allow a massive transformation of Paddington .

The Victorian Society is upset at plans to replace the Royal Mail sorting office with the 14-storey Padington Cube building, which it has previously claimed is “not sensitive to the character of the area”, after plans were given the go-ahead at a Westminster City Council planning meeting last year.

Members of the society want the secretary of state for communities and local government, Sajid Javid, to call in the application and for it to be decided via an independent public inquiry.

The Cube is part of the £775 million regeneration project which will include major improvements to Paddington Station , and is expected to result in major benefits to the area, with one report claiming it would bring £350 million into the local economy.

The Victorian Society, which champions Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales, is upset that Great Western Developments (GWD) and its development partner, Sellar Paddington Limited (SPL), was given the green light in December.

The former Royal Mail sorting office - site of the proposed new Paddington tower, seen from Paddington Station

A spokesman said: “Built in 1907, the sorting office was recognised by Westminster Council themselves as a ‘Building of Merit’ as recently as 2010, and yet has now been approved for total demolition.”

The charity argues public benefits of the Paddington Restoration Project can be achieved without the demolition of the sorting office, and has vowed to continue to fight to “develop a new scheme that capitalises on Paddington’s architectural heritage rather than undermining it”.

The former Royal Mail sorting office - site of the proposed new Paddington tower

Among the concerns are the routes of ambulances going to nearby St Mary’s Hospital being affected.

James Hughes, senior conservation adviser at the Victorian Society, said: “This approval is astonishing.

"The scheme is very controversial and has flagged many legitimate concerns from heritage groups and the general public.

A close-up look at the newly proposed Paddington Quarter

"Not only does it involve demolishing a locally listed building of great historical and architectural interest, but the proposed cube would also harm the setting of many locally listed buildings, such as the entrance to Paddington London Underground Station, Tournament House and the Mint and Clarence Memorial Wings of St Mary’s Hospital.”

James Hughes, another senior conservation adviser at the Victorian Society, said: “Such a high level of harm has not been demonstrated to be strictly necessary in order to deliver the scheme’s public benefits and therefore cannot be justified.

The former Royal Mail sorting office - site of the proposed new Paddington tower

“The majority of the essential public benefits, such as the addition of a new underground station entrance and ticket halls to relieve congestion, can ultimately be achieved without the construction of an unavoidably dominant and excessively imposing structure.”

The Victorian Society and other campaign groups successfully stopped the 'Skinny Shard' being built on the Royal Mail building when initial plans were ditched following opposition.

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