Work Set to Begin on Demolition of Ada Lewis House

Controversial project will provide 36 new homes in Barons Court

A visualisation of the Palliser Road scheme from the developer
A visualisation of the Palliser Road scheme from the developer

April 6, 2023

Work is set to begin demolishing the 100-year-old Ada Lewis House in Palliser Road in Barons Court.

The controversial project is being undertaken by Southern Housing Group to create 36 affordable homes in a new building to be called The Palliser.

Redevelopment of the site was granted planning permission by H&F Council planning department three years ago, despite strong opposition from local residents.

Ada Lewis House, close to the entrance to the Queen’s Club, was built in the 1920s to provide living accommodation for single, low-income working women in London. It has since been extended to provide extra accommodation, including a games room which was created by adapting a former air raid shelter in 1950.

Ada Lewis House as it is currently
Ada Lewis House as it is currently

The scheme was financed by Ada Lewis, wife of a wealthy philanthropist who set up the Samuel Lewis Housing Trust. The trust has since become Southern Housing Group, which is now demolishing the existing building to create 36 new one, two and three-bedroom homes within a five storey building, which it says is a similar height to the existing building and adjoining terraced homes.

All of the new homes will be affordable with homes for London Affordable Rent, London Living Rent and shared ownership, and the development will include a shared, landscaped garden.

Another visualisation from the developer of the planned Palliser Road flats
Another visualisation from the developer of the planned Palliser Road flats

The proposal to demolish the building and remove existing trees was met with anger from local residents, who organised a campaign to save it, registering over 100 objections and organising a petition which was signed by hundreds of people.

At the time, the building was being used as short-term accommodation by young professionals and campaigners said: “Ada Lewis House is currently home to over 60 young people - many of them key workers at nearby Charing Cross Hospital. If it is demolished, they will have to find somewhere else to live. It is a very serviceable building, currently serving a useful purpose. It’s madness to demolish it.”

In response, Southern Housing Group said it had considered refurbishing and adapting the building to create new homes, but added: “ Ada Lewis House was built in the 1920s and the existing layout of the building is narrow, single occupant rooms with shared, communal facilities. Residents frequently complained that the homes were no longer up to standard.

“ Therefore, refurbishing the building to create new homes would be impractical to achieve. Developing a new building will ensure that national space standards and building regulations are met."

The group says the new building, designed by architects Child Graddon Lewis, uses materials that are consistent with the local character of the existing Edwardian terraces, with the red brick colour palette which is prominent on Palliser Road.

It adds of the new building: “ Although distinct with a contemporary style, the proposed character, scale and massing of the new building has been designed to reflect the local character and responds to the adjoining terraces. We’ve adopted the strong horizontal and vertical elements of the adjoining terrace façade into our design.”

The group also says it will replace the trees that are being removed with eight semi-mature trees in a soft landscaped garden.

This week, H&F Council has given the go ahead to the trust’s demolition plans, and Southern Housing Group says it will liaise with the Queen’s Club and Lawn Tennis Association to ensure that the development does not affect the preparation and management of the annual tennis tournament.

The project is expected to take two years to complete, with new homes ready to move into early in 2025.

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