Communities secretary Sajid Javid has given the green light to Sellar Property Group’s controversial £775m Paddington Cube, Construction News can exclusively reveal.
Mr Javid last month issued an ‘Article 31 direction’ to examine whether the Sellar project in west London should be called in for a public enquiry.
However, a Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) spokesman told Construction News today that ministers had “decided not to call this development in”.
The 14-storey building, next to Paddington station, will include 360,000 sq ft of office space.
Conservation groups had called on Mr Javid to launch a public inquiry into the development, as it will replace a 110-year-old former Royal Mail sorting office.
A petition on the issue has attracted more than 1,300 signatures.
Westminster City Council granted planning permission to the project last December, but formal permission was held up by Mr Javid’s intervention.
The DCLG spokesman confirmed that the council is now free to issue a final decision on the project. The department did not provide any more information on the decision.
Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for planning and public realm Daniel Astaire said: “The council welcomes the decision from the secretary of state not to call in this planning application and is pleased to hear government is content for the application to be determined by the city council.
“The committee members considered the scheme’s impact very carefully, but concluded the substantial social, economic and regeneration benefits coupled with the substantial public benefits outweighs the less-than-substantial harm to the heritage assets.”
Sellar Property Group is developing the scheme in partnership with Great Western Developments.
Initial plans for the development – designed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano – involved building a 72-storey high-end residential building dubbed the ‘Paddington Pole’.
Irvine Sellar, the late chairman of Sellar Property Group, told CN in October the decision to convert the scheme from residential to office was partly because the high-end residential market had slowed.
Sellar Group’s chief executive James Sellar said in a statement today: “Naturally we are delighted that our planned £775m regeneration of the area directly around Paddington station has cleared yet another major hurdle in the process of securing unconditional planning consent.”
The development will also offer 80,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant accommodation over five levels, including a rooftop restaurant, better access to Paddington Station and a £65m investment in a new Bakerloo line station and ticket hall.