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Application to build 52 flats on old office block

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AN empty office block at West’s Centre could be replaced with 52 flats if an application from one of the Island’s largest developers is successful.

An artist’s impression of the redeveloped site at West’s Centre on the corner between Hilary Street and Peter Street. Picture: Dandara

Dandara hope to build 13 one-bedroom flats and 39 two-bedroom flats, with bike storage and landscaping, in place of the office building on the corner of Hilary Street and Peter Street which was the former home of finance firm Kleinwort Benson.

The investment bank vacated the block after being bought out in 2016 by Société Générale, which has offices on the Esplanade.

The design statement for the proposed development, which has been produced by architects Axis Mason, says that the site’s advantages include good public transport connections and close proximity to the town for pedestrians.

It adds that the development would improve the area’s streetscape and public realm and that it would remove ‘an unattractive building that offers little to the street scene’.

‘The existing building dates back to the early 1980s and contributes little to the overall character of the street frontage,’ it says.

‘In terms of form, detail and materiality, the building appears incongruous with the local character of the area and detracts from the street scene.

‘The design of the residential building, therefore, aims to provide a more appropriate and characterful development that will help to repair the streetscape.’

Under the proposals, a new area of pavement would be created around the building, which would be six storeys high – the same as the current block.

In terms of constraints on the site, the statement says that access by car for residents would be restricted by the surrounding one-way system, in particular during the rush hour when traffic would be heavy, and that the development would be affected by the large number of nearby developed properties.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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