Garden makeover for home to café off Oxford Street

By Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Reporter

A public garden and café off Oxford Street is set for a ‘much-needed’ refurbishment. BH1 Ltd has applied to partially demolish the café at Brown Hart Gardens and replace it with a slightly larger build.

It is also applying to significantly re-landscape the deck area and add outdoor seating. Westminster City council planning officers have welcomed the plans and expect the extended operating hours and larger café to add to the area.

A council report read: “The proposals will see the addition of much needed landscaping across the terrace. While it is acknowledged that the proposals will result in a change to the appearance of the terrace, it has undergone several phases of development throughout its lifetime.”

The proposed scheme will provide large, raised fibreglass planters for a variety of plants, including trees, to the public garden, which is privately owned. Timber benches will also be installed into the planters.

The café is tipped to receive a new roof and the structure will extend by 3.5m in length, allowing for an increase in customers dining indoors to 60 in total. The proposal includes glazed façades and double doors to keep in the noise.



Brown Hart Gardens in its current state (Picture: Studio Angeli/WCC)

The new roof, which will sit lower, is also expected to improve the visibility of the stone pavilion. But objectors have claimed the plans will lead to an ‘over-commercialisation’ of the public gardens and vital public space.

The report read: “The proposal overall, when considering the enlarged use along with the external seating, would not substantially increase the number of covers overall compared to previous permissions.”

Brown Hart Gardens is a formal park on the roof of a Grade II listed electricity substation dating from 1904-05, designed by C. S. Peach and Balfour for the Grosvenor Estate.

The substation is sunken and covered by a raised terraced with two domed neo-Baroque stone pavilions at each end. Westminster City council will review the application next Tuesday.

Pictured top: A CGI of the proposed landscaping and refurbed cafe at Brown Hart Gardens (Picture: Studio Angeli/WCC)


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