RELIEVED residents have welcomed news that the Algerian Embassy has shelved plans to relocate its Consulate to a quiet street in Hammersmith.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office caused uproar in Beavor Lane last year when it approved plans to transfer the Consulate from its current base in Hyde Park Gate to the disused Riverview House, which has been empty since 2009.
It would have become a base UK base for Algerians to renew passports, apply for visas and register births and marriages, while British citizens planning to travel to the African country would also have had to have obtained documents there.
Residents faced the prospect of 50-60 people visiting the building every day, while there were also security concerns with fears of volatile protests coming to the area.
But neighbours were informed in a letter from the FCO this week that the Embassy had withdrawn its plans and had begun looking at other London locations.
Avril Grundberg, of the St Peter's Residents' Association, expressed her delight at the news, saying: "It's a welcome relief. The main concern was the safety of the children at St Peter's School and the Beanstalk Nursery. The FCO should have regard for the safety of the public and plainly this couldn't have been guaranteed at such a location.
"We were always hopeful that they would change their minds but you can never be sure."
A planning application to turn the building into 95 student flats, approved in 2011, could now be back in the pipeline. An agent acting for the applicants, Riverview International Investments, indicated negotiations were still ongoing but declined to comment further.
Ms Grundberg said residents would welcome the development, adding: "We had no objections when the application went in and nothing has changed. It's a building that shouldn't stay empty and we would have no problem seeing it used for something like student accommodation."