URBAN VITALITY AND CONGENIALITY
What is the Westminster Society?
The Society, which was founded in 1959 by John Betjeman and Gay Christensen, is a recognised amenity organisation and is consulted by Westminster City Council on local planning matters. The society responds to consultations on public policies and co-operates with local and national government and other amenity societies to achieve its objectives.
The Society’s objectives are the enhancement and conservation of the amenities of the City of Westminster by charitable means. Its Trustees regularly meet prospective developers and encourage good architecture through biennial awards.
Membership is open to all who live or work in Westminster and others who care about the area. The Society’s area of interest covers the southern part of Westminster, south of a line drawn to the north of Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly, Leicester Square and south of Covent Garden, from the western boundary with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea to the eastern boundary with the City of London.
What Does It Do?
The Westminster Society is notified weekly by the City Council about upcoming planning applications in its area. In addition, many developers contact us before submitting a formal application for development. The Westminster Society welcomes opportunities to comment at an early stage on proposals.
When responding to major developments involving, for example, changing offices into residential accommodation or hotels, or the demolition and replacement of existing buildings, the Society will provide a constructive design review that will be of help to developers and city planners, and enable improvements to be made to proposed schemes especially in those cases where proposals have not been well-received in the wider community. Our response will take account of the numerous conservation areas and listed buildings within our area as well as the desire to preserve our rich architectural heritage while evaluating the new ideas and aspirations that developers and their design teams bring forward.
It should be pointed out that the Society is not a residents’ association and from time to time our views about a development will differ from those of local associations; nor do we comment on upcoming planning applications concerning minor changes to residential property or the public realm, since the City planners have robust policies and procedures for dealing with these.