The Belgravia Society was founded in 2009 by George Waite, Mary Regnier-Leigh, Lady Cleaver and Simon Davie when they decided that it was time for Belgravia to have a new society which was to be different. It was not to be just an amenity society, or a residents’ association, but one which brought together its community which fully represents Belgravia. One which honours the history of Belgravia and its unique character as a village, its architecture and gardens, to celebrate the past, improve the present and engage with the future.
Members of the local community needed an independent voice to speak on their behalf, as widely as possible, and that is what we do.
We have a large Committee. So many people have experience and expertise in matters relating to Belgravia. The most effective way of channeling this is making sure they are all involved in our day-to-day activities. We meet monthly and invite members who are not on the Committee to join us for the Committee meetings so that they may see how the Society functions and offer their own contributions. The Society also accepts community associations as members and we also represent the Eaton Square Residents Association (ESRA) which is also chaired by our own chairman, George Waite.
You will see on our homepage the senior officers of the Society as well as the names of all members of the Committee.
It might seem that an area like Belgravia, which has so many listed buildings, both Grade l and Grade ll, would not be much concerned with planning. However, since the formation of The Belgravia Society there have been major building projects. There is the Peninsula Hotel well on the way to completion, the Cleveland Clinic at 33 Grosvenor Place, Newson’s Yard, Kilmuir House and, on our borders, Ebury Bridge Estate, 55 to 91 Knightsbridge, Chelsea Barracks, and Cundy Street. Furthermore, with the forthcoming boundary changes to our political boundaries the Chelsea Barracks development and the Ebury Bridge Estate will also be in Belgravia for local government purposes and planning.
Other changes affecting our daily lives have also taken place. We have seen changes to Motcomb Street and Elizabeth Street. We have seen shops come and go and sadly lost businesses which have been stalwarts for the community for many years. We have seen traffic schemes come. We have helped protect Belgravia by making sure they were amended so as not to damage the streets of Belgravia. We keep a watching brief on pollution and traffic including bicycles and pedestrian safety and make our views known where appropriate.
Also, although the future is not really known yet, there is the possibility of Crossrail 2 coming to South Belgravia. The FutureVictoria scheme is now being consulted on. We have serious reservations as to the terms of reference which seem to include not just Victoria station, but also the surrounding streets, which on the plans include that part of Belgravia between Ebury Street and Buckingham Palace Road as well as Pimlico at the other side of the road. While we do support the proposed improvements to the station and its curtilage, we vigorously oppose any attempt to enlarge the area for development into Belgravia.
In addition, we are responding to the Westminster City Council new city plan to oppose the inclusion of that part of Belgravia which is mentioned above. The plan is subject to formal Inspection and we will be responding to it. We have always maintained that the piece of Belgravia in question should be regarded as part of and remain a residential area. We do have two office blocks which originated post-war. We will work very hard to make sure there is no extension of the office use and make sure that no high buildings will be imposed on us.
Over the years since we have been active in Belgravia, we have responded to many planning applications, consultations from both City of Westminster and Government. There are a multitude of planning applications in the area and we monitor them all. We distribute them to our Committee for comment and any member of the Society may also receive them on request.
If you are not a member already, do join us.