Newson’s Yard

Grosvenor success in much revised Newson’s Yard Redevelopment Plan

Dear All, I am sure many of you have heard that Grosvenor have won their final revised Planning Application to redevelop this site and the four associated galleries on the Pimlico Road. Having originally proposed to remove 7 units and replace them with 3 mega units we at least managed to save the beautiful Carlton Hobbs showrooms and adapted the layout to 2 mega units plus one medium and one smaller unit, thus losing 6 to get 4. Added to this we achieved the change in design to the new entry way proposal from a modern steel, wood and glass structure, which nearly everyone thought inappropriate, to a more restrained Victorian inspired façade more in keeping with its neighbours. For this we must thank the BTA, BRA, BS, English Heritage, The Victorian Society and the many local residents for their support to mitigate the worst aspects of the original proposal.

Sadly David Humphrey and Marie-Lise Carrasco will lose their home and their business premises; as will Gabriel Bernardi of Coote Bernardi. We are hoping they may gain a short reprise before they have to relocate, hopefully not too far away. Ochre, though only on a temporary pop up licence, have gained an extension to early April 2017. We will be sad to see them move on but hope they find new premises nearby. They all express their thanks for your support in trying to save these much loved smaller galleries.

Travis Perkins, who merged with Newson’s several years ago, and thus between them have been here for over 175 years will also have to relocate, though they will probably launch an appeal. Sadly many of those whom they employ will probably be made redundant. Stewart Drummond and his team have expressed their great thanks for what support we managed to give them. We wish them all every success.

The latest redevelopment proposal by the Grosvenor Estate. Showing a new infill for the entrance of Newson’s yard.

We must all now rally round and work closely with Grosvenor to achieve a successful redevelopment of the site. May we urge all of our clients to come up with ideas for potential new tenants, for suggestions as to the kind of businesses you would like to add to the retail mix that is The Pimlico Road. Please contact ourselves or Grosvenor with your suggestions.

The Pimlico Road has a remarkable resource of some of the World’s leading designers across numerous disciplines. This should be celebrated and shouted from the rooftops. You too can help spread the word. With all the empty shops that will now appear in the area whilst the building work takes place it is vital that we all make every effort to tell the World that “WE ARE STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS”.

Thank you for all your support. Regards and best wishes.
Mark Boyce

The Duke of Westminster’s property company, the Grosvenor Estate, is planning the redevelopment of Newson’s historic timber yard and five fine Victorian galleries including Humphrey Carrasco and Coote & Bernardi on the Pimlico Road.

Travis Perkins Pimlico is the oldest existing timber yard in London and an integral part of the Belgravia conservation area. From its historic base, first established in 1840, Travis Perkins continues to maintain the yard’s original use and crucially provides developments across London with the widest range of quality timber and building materials, available to collect in branch or delivered to you.

Planning decision expected October 2016:

Please make your comments on the proposal as soon as possible.

Planning decision date (TBC) 18th October at Westminster City Hall, 6.30pm.

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If you have any queries regarding the redevelopment scheme, you can contact us at;



How to object:

It is Important to remember with planning objections, the objections need to be focused on specific criteria. Please view our ‘points to remember’ column.

The simplest way to object is to submit your comments on Westminster’s planning application page, please see link below;


If you would prefer to send a letter of objection. Please address your letter including all the below;

Westminster Council, South Planning Team.
Westminster City Hall
64 Victoria Street
Ref No. 16/04562/Full

Thanks to letters of objection to a similar scheme that Grosvenor proposed back in 2001, we won the day and that proposal was withdrawn. We can do it again, but we need your support.


Points to remember when making an objection

• Effect of the development on the character of the neighborhood.
• Visual impact of the development.
• Unacceptably high density / overdevelopment of the site.
• Design (including bulk and massing, detailing and materials).
• It is in a Conservation Area, adverse effect of the development on the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.
• The proposed development is over-bearing, out-of-scale or out of character in terms of its appearance compared with existing development in the vicinity.
• Adverse effect on the trading nature of the street.
• The loss of existing views from neighbouring properties would adversely affect the residential amenity of neighbouring owners.
• Adverse effect on the residential amenity of neighbours, by reason of: noise*, disturbance*, overlooking, loss of privacy, overshadowing, etc. [*but note that this does not include noise or disturbance arising from the actual execution of the works, which will not be taken into account].

The following points, on the other hand will not be taken into account in deciding on the acceptability of the development in planning terms :

• The reasons or motives of the applicant in applying for planning permission (for example if the development is thought to be purely speculative);
• Any profit likely to be made by the applicant;
• The behaviour of the applicant;
• Concerns about possible future development of the site (as distinct from the actual development which is currently being proposed);
• Any effect on the value of neighbouring properties


    Grosvenor estate are proposing to redevelop Newson’s/Travis Perkins timber yard, five galleries on the Pimlico road into two mega units plus two smaller units with 7 luxury apartments above. Their plan is, to demolish the five circa 1,000 square ft. 19th century galleries and 5 flats above on the Pimlico Road, retaining the façades, punching through into the timber yard, loosing forever the wonderful cathedral like space, to create two 10,000 square ft. units and two smaller galleries, with a newly built infill to the current Travis Perkins entrance. See below;

    Consultation exhibition, June 2015:

    Consultation exhibition, April 2016:

    BBC London news, on Newson's Timber yard:



    Comments in favour


    Comments against

                              • façadism
                              • Why?.......... This redevelopment benefits no one but the Grosvenor Estate.
                              • It's in a conservation area.
                              • Units of this size are completely at odds with the trading nature of the street.
                              • The destruction of perfectly viable and appropriate existing shop/residence units on the Pimlico Road.
                              • The destruction of the viable and historic existing Timber Yard.
                              • The loss of a valuable community service business.
                              • The loss of several viable businesses already paying market rents.
                              • The destruction and loss of integrity of these buildings by just becoming mere facades.
                              • The increased problem of traffic flow due to added deliveries and collections to 2 such large retail units.
                              • The impact all of these redevelopments will have on residents parking.
                              • The added congestion to the  surrounding residential streets.
                              • The total lack of support by all Local Trade and Resident Associations . PRA, BTA, BRA and BA [ Belgravia Society].
                              • The added burden of yet more development in an area already surrounded by the huge Chelsea Barracks development.
                              • Dust and noise pollution.
                              • The loss of 40+ Jobs
                              • It will have an adverse effect on the atmosphere of the square.
                              • "Gentrification" can unbalance an already healthy retail mix on the street.
                              • Concerns regarding the raised roof line.
                              • The loss of an unusual cathedral-like space in this part of central London.
                              • Retail units of this scale and rent could be very difficult to let and also attract businesses not suitable to the area.
                              • The loss of a valuable and much used local service. Newson’s Timber yard occupied by Travis Perkins is a well established  local business and has been part of the community for many years. Part of the BRA’s remit is to ensure we do not lose these staple services from within our community.
                              • Existing established traders will be lost /replaced and  this is regrettable for we understand they are paying reasonable rent levels and are content in their current locations .
                              • This is simply not the time to be generating ever further development work in this small area, when local residents and current businesses already are starting to feel the effects of the mega Chelsea Barracks scheme .
                              • The noise and dust and turmoil to this local sector will be simply too much if such a development  were to take place .
                              • Insufficient parking provision, and no onsite parking has been allowed in the scheme proposals . in view that potentially better known brands of retailers be introduced to the proposed revamped  area then  there is already a parking issue in the immediate vicinity and this may be exacerbated.
                              • I have heard the street is in need of 'more footfall'. I don't fully understand where this assumption comes from and why the best solution is to evict decent businesses to replace with others.
                              • I do not follow the thought process as to why redevelopment would be an excellent idea, and why putting three new tenants in when the building is finished, would add more benefit to the area than was lost in the upheaval and moving of the businesses already there.
                              • Travis Perkins is the only specialist building merchant in the area (useful for many trades and locals) and happens to be the oldest surviving and in-use timber merchant building in the country, so has significant historical importance (first recorded in the 1840s).
                              • There is no need for this kind of over-scaled development on the Pimlico Road. Why disrupt the established success and character of an area that has become an international destination for design and antiques. Such qualities are easily diluted and lost.
                              • The proposed changes to the Newson/Travis Perkins timber yard will ruin what is a unique and special place.  This is a building of historic and architectural interest.  Ideally it should be maintained in its current use and certainly it would be such a loss if the form of the building was changed, so it's original (and current) use was no longer expressed in its architectural form.
                              • Pimlico Road is world renowned for its top specialist  independent antique dealers who do not rely on footfall like every other commercial retail businesses in London and the introduction of multiple retailer outlets which you can find on every other shopping street, mall or centre in London will quickly destroy this unique area of our city.


    The Pimlico road circa 1900

    A brief history

    W H Newson's timber yard was built circa 1840 by John Newson. He lived and worked from no 19 Bloomfield Terrace, 'Stromboli House,' circa 1762. He built the delightful houses of Bloomfield Terrace, named after his beloved wife …..... Bloomfield.
    John Newson built houses in the neighbouring streets of Ebury Street and Bourne Street, it is highly likely that he built the shops on the Pimlico Road, which are circa 1840 also, although only two from this early development are now surviving at no’s 41 and 43 (under threat). They are the oldest buildings on Orange Square.


        • A letter from the three Churchill Councillors:


    Pimlico Road is a unique design district offering quality products from local, long established retailers.

    We have been talking to local residents about the proposed redevelopment of the historic timber yard and attending public meetings with residents and Grosvenor Estates.

    We share the local community's concerns about the possible loss of an integral part of our community and will continue to work with local residents and Grosvenor to ensure residents' concerns are heard and that Pimlico Road and the local community continues to thrive.


          • Letter of Objection to the Grosvenor


    Once again we are faced with the prospect of the redevelopment of a rare and historic structure, clearly motivated by profit, and lacking in imagination or an understanding of what either the retailers or residents really want.

    I believe there is an overwhelming feeling that the proposed design which divides the Victorian cast iron structure into three 10,000 sq ft units will result in a charmless environment and only attract hyper commercial businesses.

    What we do want is to ask the Grosvenor to either
    Leave TP well alone as it stands as a useful, long standing and local supplier to both builders and local residents, despite the expected mess and disruption it causes, or
    To use the redevelopment as an incredible opportunity to turn the space into a creative and cultural hub which would hopefully feed character and life back into an ailing 'NO HOME' community and compliment a burgeoning design district; a mix of affordable crafts workshops providing a service to the local antiques and design businesses, combined with galleries, perhaps an exhibition space and a bookshop or two, and of course a coffee shop/deli at the heart of it all, benefiting from some of the open space and fresh air in the summer.

    Humphrey Carrasco must be allowed to thrive as they have spent years, enduring at least two recessions, establishing one of London's most admired antiques businesses, which is visited by some of the worlds most renown designers and collectors.

    I can't imagine why the Grosvenor would not seize the chance to become a leader in the move to counteract the mindless redevelopment of this great city and create a district known throughout the the world as a model for forward thinking cultural reinvestment. What interesting future could there possibly be in three mega businesses occupying this significant but humble structure, followed inevitably by a string of transient chain stores in the Pimlico road which will replace the unique mix of independent creative retailers that have hung on so famously up to now.

    Christopher Howe

    An antiques and design business owner for 32 years at:

    HOWE London, 93 Pimlico Road and 36 Bourne Street SW1W

        • Grosvenor's "retail in the community"


          Grosvenor’s latest "Retail in the community" resumed on Monday 23rd November with a strong turn out from Pimlico Road traders and local residents.

    After a somewhat disrupted presentation by Grosvenor and their architect, Aukett Swanke, an impromptu debate ensued.

          The general opinion was that the proposed units were too large and too expensive, appealing to multinational companies, adding nothing beneficial to the retail mix.
          The majority thought Travis Perkins to be a valuable asset to the local community, despite some debate regarding their delivery vehicles. If Travis Perkins had to go, it was repeatedly suggested, that an arcade of small independent galleries would be a much preferred option.
          In the previous "Retail in the community” meetings, Grosvenor declared "the regeneration of the Pimlico Road” to be the aim for the scheme. We were told by Grosvenor's architect that an arcade of small independent galleries was not possible, the space was too small, however it was pointed out that the bays between the columns in Newson’s Yard were larger than some of the galleries on the Pimlico Road and therefore very viable as small independent galleries.
          Later on in the discussions, Will Bax of Grosvenor was asked why the arcade idea was not considered, he replied "Grosvenor Estate could not charge for the central passageway," therefore inadvertently admitting that it is not about “regeneration”, but about money.
            If Grosvenor’s motives were really about regeneration, then the arcade idea is the only scheme to consider, for it conserves the architecture and brings many new galleries to the street.

              Grosvenor admitted their 2001 housing development proposal failed because of local objections against the demolition of the timber yard, yet this latest proposal is more of the same…… not only to make major structural changes to the timber yard but to demolish numerous galleries as well.

                Grosvenor Estate if you are listening, please consider the views of your tenants and the local residents.

                    David Humphrey



        • A Letter to Grosvenor

    02/12/15 David Humphrey
    Dear Mr Vernon,

    The Grosvenor Estate is in the very privileged position of managing some of the most sensitively important Georgian property in the capital. In my opinion it makes Grosvenor ethically responsible for preserving the architectural heritage and communities, that makes London so special. Commercial consideration should not be the Estate's overriding objective.

    At your latest “Retail in the community” meeting, during an impromptu debate, it became very apparent there was an ulterior motive behind your Newson’s Yard proposal and as a result there has been a breakdown in trust between Grosvenor and everyone concerned.
    Will Bax's admission that the idea of building an arcade of independent galleries inside Newson’s Yard was "not considered because Grosvenor Estate could not charge for the central passageway,” was in its self an admission that your scheme has nothing to do with regeneration, but has a purely monetary objective.
    If your motives were really about regeneration, then the idea of an arcade is the only scheme to consider, as it both conserves the architecture and brings many new galleries to the street, unlike your proposed scheme which achieves precisely the opposite.

    In my opinion, this extremely controversial scheme should never have been considered, lessons from your 2001 scheme appear not to have been learnt, although this time you are not demolishing the timber yard, I believe you are proposing more of the same: major structural changes, demolishing the galleries.

    If the arcade idea is not commercially viable, then this redevelopment should be dropped. Persisting with your unsympathetic mega-unit scheme, regardless of the cost to our architectural heritage, your tenants and the opinions of the local residents, is I believe, not the way for a responsible landlord to behave.

    Rumours abound of your next redevelopment plans, uncertainty is palpable, It has become glaringly obvious pushing ahead with this hugely insensitive scheme, is doing irreparable damage to your relations with the community as a whole.


    David Humphrey


                                          • A letter to Westminster Town Council, The South Planning Team

    Joanne Brierely/Manager of HOWE 13/11/15

    To whom it may concern at South Planning,
    I would like to express my opinions over the proposed redevelopment of Newson's Yard on the Pimlico road.

    I have strong concerns that the current tenants that occupy the units under the Newson's yard redevelopment plan should not be forcibly evicted without them being happy and fully complicit. I do not understand the assumption that after the big upheaval of the major building works that would take place on the road, putting three new tenants in when all would be complete would add more benefit to the area than was lost in losing the several very fine businesses already trading there.

    Some of the tenants who would be evicted are extremely long established, very reputable and highly respected specialist businesses, who are very site specific to the Pimlico road and also to their showrooms, which have been carefully renovated to suit their trading and clients.

    These businesses are the antithesis to the very large branded chain retailers whom I think you may favour and be looking at bringing into the much enlarged new retail spaces that would be created (I saw your preference for the French brand ‘Merci’ on your display boards at St. Barnabas church, and I was told this is the type of retailer you are looking at bringing in) . The current tenants whom you would evict in the smaller units are businesses headed by people, and not brands, and this is very special indeed. These businesses should be looked after by their landlord, and given every good chance to trade, grow, and be successful. We should encourage a diverse Pimlico road and Belgravia, and London; full of interesting and individual shops, and try at all costs to avoid our shopping streets having rents only affordable to the very large brands.

    There is of course a place for these large shops and brands in London; (I love shopping at Peter Jones as much as the next person), but the Pimlico road is an incredibly special, high end retail ecosystem, and I fear bringing in a few very large chain store retailers is absolutely the wrong direction to move in. I fear the planning team at Grosvenor do not comprehend this in any way, if they did, why would it be even suggested the current businesses should move out?

    I have heard there is a need for more footfall on the street, which probably is a fair comment. But what is critical is who's feet are we wishing to draw to the street. We need to be selective to the type of business we wish to encourage to join our ranks. If the Pimlico road becomes an extension of the Kings road, we will not necessarily improve the numbers of the clientele we wish to attract to the other Pimlico road traders, thus not solving the problem for the existing retailers.

    For example; I visited Merci in Paris in the summer, and the first thing I saw upon entering the shop were large baskets of selfie sticks on a special offer. I do welcome a business such as Merci to Chelsea/Belgravia, but perhaps they are better suited to Duke or York square or the Kings road.

    The Pimlico road is a wonderful concentration of individuals from the interiors world, many of whom set the trends for the rest of the market, in the UK and abroad. They are figureheads in their fields for quality and design. I think we should encourage these people and businesses to stay, and if there are vacant units, encourage more like minded established persons such as this, and new growing businesses in the same or similar industry, to join the street, which would develop and strengthen the concept of the street being a destination for high end interior shoppers. I hope the Grosvenor can help curate and develop this special mix, and help secure it for the future, rather than actively help it die away!

    I would like to add my name to the other supporters who ask ‘don't go ahead with any of this’ - yet at least! I am not apposed fundamentally to the ‘redevelopment’ or ‘refurbishing’ of any building in the area should a tenant leave, but please don't evict anyone who doesn't want to leave and who is quietly and happily paying their rents and trading; and please don't encourage the diluting of such a wonderful concentration of exemplary independent retailers from the interiors world, of which cannot be matched anywhere in this country.

    Joanne Brierley

    Manager of HOWE at 36 Bourne Street


                                                                      • The Duke of Westminster and the Grosvenor Estates used to be Caring Landlords , now all they want is every single penny no matter at what cost to the tenants or the appearance of London.

    I find this a disgrace for a landlord of this magnitude and standing.

    Edric van Vredenburgh


                                                                      • A Point of view from Mark Boyce, chairman of the Pimlico road association

    The Grosvenor proposals are sadly out of kilter with what is actually demanded by retailers in the area.

    The Pimlico Road has been developed and improved by quirky independent Art and Antique dealers, Interior Designers and Contemporary Furniture Designers all of whom appreciate the non clone street nature of the area. Most require 1,000 to 2,000sq ft of space. Yes, some can always use more space but the costs are always a problem. 7,500 and 10,0000 sq ft spaces are only going to appeal to huge international brand names, i.e. yet more of the same clone high streets from around the world.

    Travis Perkins adds to the quirky mix of businesses in this quiet part of Belgravia and is very much a benefit to the whole of South West London.

    It is their most profitable branch and is celebrating 175 years of continuous trading from this site. Every development and refurbishment, no matter how small, benefits from having this service on their door step. After all it was Newsons/Travis Perkins that helped build Belgravia and Pimlico.

    Architecturally it is also of value. Its "Cathedral like interior" {English Heritage} is a unique survival of Victorian Architecture.

    Its function and purpose are ideally complimented by its design. Out of 3,000 timber yards from the 18th and 19th centuries in London it is the only survivor. We should make every effort to support its continued success.

    The idea of Facadism, the keeping of facades and the destruction of interiors is inappropriate also.

    Though Grosvenor say they will keep the building, any sense of its internal structure would be obliterated. The verticality of the columns, the nave like nature of the main thoroughfare and the wonderful roof structure would be completely lost in their proposed redevelopment. Brocken by walls and intrusive floor spaces with only minor light wells.

    All the properties affected function perfectly as they are. All the buildings have thriving businesses paying substantial rents and rates as they are. Why have change for changes sake? It seems that there will be no real benefits to any one. Even Grosvenor's rent projections are only inline with what they already achieve.

    Mark Boyce


                                                                        • A Letter to Catherine Stevenson, Director-South Belgravia-Grosvenor Estate
                                                                          Margaret / Ian Strachen 24/10/2015

    Dear Ms. Stevenson,

    We are writing to share our concerns about the redevelopment of Newson's Yard.

    In the first place, it would be a great loss to many constituents (homeowners, builders) if the timber yard were to disappear. It is an incredible service to have in Belgravia, given all the refurbishment that occurs in the area. We will leave it to others who are more qualified to speak on the historical and current value of the timber yard, but we do want to add our voices to theirs.

    What also concerns us, however, is that you will chase away the timber yard and create three very large retail spaces, only to discover that you cannot find even one, let alone three retailers who can profitably use such a large space, leaving us therefore with sad, un-let spaces instead of the thriving activity that takes place there now. Two principal activities occur on Pimlico Road: design and antiques; and eateries. While you might find another restaurant who wanted one of the spaces, it would have to be special/trendy enough to attract outsiders to the area; otherwise you would not have achieved your objective of increasing footfall. In any case, the area is already well served with attractive eateries. As for design shops and antique dealers, they generally do best in small spaces, as witnessed by the many such shops we already have on the street.

    While it is possible you might find a modern design retailer who would like such a big space (there are several such on Kings Road), it is unclear that potential clients would bother to make the journey to Pimlico Road. There is no tube station here , few buses serve the road, and parking is extremely limited. In any case, we are not convinced that the goal of increasing footfall is a worthwhile one. Pimlico Road/Ebury Street is a major road traffic artery and it is not clear that the pavements can tolerate much of an increase in pedestrian traffic without running the risk of accidents. According to your representative at the recent September workshop, footfall on Elizabeth Street has not increased much even though you have widened the pavements there, and there are numerous very smart and exciting boutiques on that street. How much harder it will be on Pimlico Road where the majority of shops cater principally to specialists: designers and decorators.

    As to design, I understand you might be reconsidering the material originally proposed to be used for the façade of number 61 Pimlico and the shape of the proposed new building. I do hope so because the proposed façade I have seen is an outrage. Why, I ask you WHY?, would anybody even consider for one instant using anything other than brick for a façade on Pimlico Road, coupled with a classical roofline? It truly defies comprehension and displays an utter lack of understanding of the nature of the neighbourhood, not to mention a complete lack of taste. Please do not do this to Pimlico Road!

    In short, do you really think that Pimlico Road needs revamping? Isn't it pretty special and unique the way it is? Quirky perhaps (which is a huge part of its charm), but serving a very useful purpose both for the locals and for the building trade. Perhaps not every corner of Belgravia needs a Grosvenor make-over.

    One final comment: while we like the idea of some wooden seating on the pavement outside Daylesford/De le Cuona, what you have put there is way out of proportion to the space. The whole effect created is one of an overblown mess that has ended up being more of an eyesore than an invitation to rest one's feet. Can you please try again on that? How about a nice, simple, modern bench!

    Yours sincerely,
    Margaret and Ian Strachan
    Bloomfield Terrace


                                                                        • A Letter from the artist Col McDonnell

    I write to you to express my deep concern over the proposed redevelopment on Pimlico Road.

    The proposed changes to the Newson/Travis Perkins timber yard will ruin what is a unique and special place. This is a building of historic and architectural interest. Ideally it should be maintained in its current use. And certainly it would be such a loss if the form of the building was changed so it's original (and current) use was no longer expressed in its architectural form.

    The proposed demolition of no.43 would be, in my opinion, the kind of architectural mistake that I had hoped had been consigned to history books of mid twentieth century planning disasters.

    Our architectural heritage is a very fragile thing. And it is rare for an area like Pimlico Road to have survived so in tact. To change and destroy the buildings along Pimlico Road would, in my opinion, be putting profit before architectural merit, history and the community. For Pimlico Road has its own community which is shaped by the independent shops and the enchanting architecture. This is an area filled with shops and galleries which are about providing a service rather than being purely profit driven.

    The buildings along Pimlico Road are good buildings that are special in their subtleties. And I feel that if this development goes ahead all that is special will go and we will be left with little more than architectural shells.

    Yours faithfully

    Coll McDonnell


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