Plans to restore the iconic Admiralty Arch to its former glory have been given the go-ahead, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude confirmed.
In a public meeting last week, Westminster City Council granted planning permission to developers Prime Investors Capital (PIC) to renovate the former office space into a 5-star hotel, residences and private members’ club.
The redevelopment is part of the wider Cabinet Office strategy to operate a more efficient government estate which has already seen it shrink by 16% since 2010 and raise over £1 billion for the taxpayer by selling buildings and land no longer needed.
The 99 year lease agreement signed between HM Government and PIC in October 2012 will raise an additional £60 million from the sale of Admiralty Arch’s leasehold, as well as creating jobs within the regeneration project.
Mr Francis Maude said: “The plans approved today will breathe new life into Admiralty Arch, transforming it from unsuitable office space into a publicly accessible landmark that everyone can admire and enjoy.
“Hard-working families rightly expect us to make the most of what we own; historical and architecturally significant buildings like the Arch shouldn’t be sitting empty in the government’s estate wasting £900,000 a year to run. Instead we’re raising £60 million for the taxpayer and working closely on every aspect with Prime Investors Capital (PIC), Westminster City Council and English Heritage to restore it to its former glory.
“Retaining the building’s freehold will mean that the public will always have a say in its future and this restoration project will create jobs, boost the local economy and help reduce the deficit.”
Prime Investors Capital CEO Rafael Serrano said: “We are delighted and grateful that Westminster City Council has granted us permission to begin work on the sensitive restoration of Admiralty Arch. We can now give this historical building a worthy and suitable purpose as its designer Sir Aston Webb originally intended and open it up to the public.”
Originally designed as a ceremonial passage from Trafalgar Square towards Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch is a London landmark with historical and architectural significance.
The plans put forward by PIC will see the Grade-1 listed building sensitively renovated in keeping with architect Sir Aston Webb’s original drawings from around 1910 with many lost designs restored.