Richard Coleman Citydesigner were commissioned by The Leicester Square Co-ownership Group to prepare a Conservation, Townscape and Visual Impact Assessment report and Demolition Statement and PPG15 Assessment document to support the proposals by Make Architects to demolish a substantial part of a city block within a conservation area on the south side of historic Leicester Square.
Detailed research was carried out into the history of the buildings which are of generally low quality in commodity terms. The block consists of a narrow perimeter of buildings surrounding a central cinema auditorium. Only the rather compromised cinema entrance facade and the modest corner pub make a definitive contribution to the conservation area. The remaining buildings make little or no contribution. The need to regenerate this city block and the small proportion of buildings making a positive contribution to the area has led to proposition of comprehensive redevelopment, where the loss of historic buildings is balanced against the overall benefit of the redevelopment and the revitalisation of Leicester Square.
Advice from the consultancy played a pivotal role in developing project strategy, while we also engaged in advocacy for the project with major stakeholders, such as English Heritage. The consultancy also produced, as part of an EIA, a Townscape and Visual Impact Assessment report which presented an analysis of the baseline conditions, justification for demolition of the existing buildings, design critique of the proposals and and results of the impact assessments carried out, using accurate visual representations (AVRs) produced by the specialist visualisation consultants Miller Hare. The scheme received planning approval in 2008.