The Belgravia Society
Planning and Development
The Hyde Park and Knightsbridge Cavalry Barracks lecture
held at NLA The Building on the 27th February 2015
The Debate, Does It Stay Or Does It Go..
I found this lecture most informative. A historic line was covered in an hour but essentially the way I understand it, there is a dilemma in the sale of the Barracks and we must be careful how we address it.
There are 3 main issues:
LOCATION – The historic barracks is a fully functioning model designed for the purpose to which it was built i.e. for accommodation and maintenance of the Household Calvary and their horses. Everything is there and although there are comments that it may be a little cramped, it works to optimum efficiency. The barracks are divided into 3 sections – Stable Block including Junior Rank Mess block, parade ground a wonderful state of the art riding school. Barracks Block including The Non Commissioned Officers Mess Block. Accommodation Blocks consisting of Married Officers Quarters, Officers Mess and finally the Married Quarters Residential Tower.
For further information please visit the British History on line link:
All three buildings operate seamlessly as a coherent whole and each area has an important role to play. If, for example, the tower should be demolished then the harmonious relationship of the complex would cease to function efficiently. The Barracks have been been completely refurbished over recent years and properly maintained.
If the Calvary were to relocate, then the cost of recreating an efficient barracks within half an hours walk would be astronomical. There has been talk of relocating to Regents Park but this may not be a satisfactory solution.
HERITAGE VALUE – The Barracks has been located on the same site since 1795 and is a historic landmark. It has retained many period features and should be preserved as a (Grade 1 or 2 listed) Heritage site.
Although the 1960s architecture appears to be a product of its time, it was built for a specific purpose. Sir Basil Spence, one of the most prominent architects of the post war era is responsible for Coventry Cathedral, The British Embassy in Rome and Sussex University, all of which are grade1 and 2 listed. The 20th Century Society considers Hyde Park Barracks should be included as well for its ingenious use of urban design.
For further information about the 20th Century Society follow the link to their website 20th Century Society
MONETARY VALUE – The land has been home to the Army Barracks for over 300 years and is considered an extremely valuable commodity. It could be sold off to the developers. Consideration for the values of our heritage v monetary value has come into hot debate.
Unless future architecture can be built on more classical lines, then London might be faced with more flamboyant and ultra modern luxury apartment blocks to rival Number 1 Hyde Park.
Quinlan Terry wants to design a classical development, which would be sympathetic to the period architecture in the surrounding area. His inspiration is drawn from 19th Century Paris.
Click here to see the plan
Another option, which would include the Barracks, is presented by Bruce Rippon, (a former banker) and his firm, SD&B International who are putting together the bid to buy the site from the MoD. He said he expected to work with the best British architects and interior designers including Quinlan Terry.
Read all about the new consortium in the following Telegraph link here.
CONCLUSION – What is the historic significance of this scheme? How should it best be used, conserved or redeveloped for twenty-first century needs in the context of a growing London?
These questions need to be considered and the two alternatives for consideration indicated in this article are as follows: -
SHOULD IT STAY - RETAINED FOR LISTING
20th Century Society wants the Barracks listed. List Hyde Park Cavalry Barracks and ensure that Public Inquiry, not government profiteering in the run up to the election, decides it future.
Sign their petition if you would like to see a process of democratic planning.
It is necessary to keep the barracks where it is.
Please follow the link to Change.org to sign their petition to
‘say neigh to demolition’
SHOULD IT GO – REDEVELOPMENT
Do we want to see soldiers and their horses or Oligarchs and ultra luxury flats occupying the land, which was once part of Hyde Park?
The propositions by Quinlan Terry for a new development and SD&B International who would like to include the Barracks in their proposal.
If the two above-mentioned developers are able to work together, this could be an ideal solution by retaining a fully functioning Barracks and simultaneously provide a new and sympathetic development to be admired by all.
Belgravia Society wants to make residents of Belgravia aware of what is happening to our neighbours in Knightsbridge and to consider the options available after all it affects your neighbourhood too.