The Old War Office is one of the most historic and sensitively located buildings in the United Kingdom. Grade II listed and completed in 1906, the building was home to the British Army and then the Ministry of Defence after the transferring of its functions. Following an extensive tender process, Concilio were appointed to undertake the political and stakeholder engagement for the planning application.
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.
Concilio 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.
Following planning permission being approved Concilio was appointed by Westminster Development Services to manage the Community Liaison Group during the development phase, which began in Q1 2018.