Belgrave was appointed by the Hinduja Family to undertake community and political engagement for the proposed development of 57 Whitehall, the historic Old War Office. Completed in 1906 and home of the Army until the creation of the united Ministry of Defence in 1964, the building has played a hugely significant role in our nation’s history. Lord Kitchener, Winston Churchill, Herbert Asquith and John Porfumo were all occupants of the Haldane Suite during their tenures as Secretaries of State for War.
Whilst the heritage rooms and location provided incredible opportunity, there were a number of significant constraints inhibiting development. The property has 2 1⁄2 miles of corridor, there are over 1,000 rooms (with the majority having poor or no light) and 1/3 of the space is underground.
The proposed development was for a 125 room hotel to be occupied by Raffles, a grand ballroom for 600 people and 80 apartments. To enable this, three storeys were proposed to be added to the rear of the property.
Belgrave undertook considerable engagement with the neighbouring residents of Whitehall Court, whose management committee’s stance changed from one of opposition to supporting the proposals at Committee. Regular engagement also took place with neighbouring hotels, businesses, the local amenity societies and Councillors at Westminster City Council.
Planning permission was granted by the Westminster City Council Planning Committee.