A luxury retirement home on a site which has an underground tunnel linking it to Harrods has been given the go-ahead by planners.
The seven-storey, 34-apartment assisted living home on Pavilion Road in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge quarter will be 100m from the upmarket department store.
Planners at Kensington and Chelsea Council have given the go ahead for the site, which has been a car park for 40 years, to be demolished and replaced with an “extra care” home and medical centre complete with car parking and landscaping. It had previously been used a storage depot for Harrods.
There are no plans to reopen the tunnel into Harrods but residents will be able to use the spa, library and private nursing care that will be on hand.
The niche project is on a prime property site and will be the only one in London’s zone 1 travel district, planners were told. It will be available to people who are over 55 years old and may appeal to downsizers and people who need some help to get on with life but do not want to go in to a care home.
Residents will state what care they need from a Care Quality Commission-registered provider when they buy the lease to the modern property.
Square-foot costs in the district suggest the smallest apartment in the development could cost £5 million, according to the Financial Times.
A new-look C-shaped building around a courtyard, featuring projecting terracotta fins plus slim-framed glazed curtain walling in anodised white metal, is set to replace the current brick car park.
The brown brick and concrete car park has large aluminium ventilation grilles but it overlooks a conservation area, is near townhouses and mansion blocks and is a stones throw from Sloane Street.
Planning documents note: “The existing building has little architectural merit other than functioning well as a large off-street car park which does not impact upon the setting of the grade II* listed department store (Harrods).
“However, the building is not attractive, makes for an unappealing public realm and detracts from the immediate townscape. Its demolition is therefore acceptable, subject to a suitable and well-designed replacement scheme.
“The replacement building responds well to a site that is constrained by the compressed and unusual plot shape and by the close proximity to the rear of a number of residential properties with small gardens.”