Development plans withdrawn after Charlotte Street art house gets heritage status

A post-war artists’ hub in Fitzrovia has been Grade II listed

Approved plans to turn the former home and studio of abstract art hero Adrian Heath (1920-1992) into three apartments have been withdrawn, after the building on Charlotte Street was given Grade II Listed status by Historic England.

Adrian Heath: Composition – Black, Pink, Yellow and Grey (1957) – Image courtesy of Victoria Art Gallery

The application to convert the then-unlisted house into three self-contained flats, was put in by the Heaths’ son, Damon, and involved enlarging the basement and adding rear extensions to the first and second floors. “The existing house is not only dated,” said Heath’s application, “but inadequate by relative design standards that make it less than ideal for family occupation.”

Camden’s planners liked it back in April, agreeing that the proposal would “not only meet, but in most cases significantly exceed, the London Plan standards.”

Now, however, Heath has withdrawn the plans after local campaigners, led by the Bloomsbury Area Conservation Advisory Committee, and Historic England stepped in to recognise the building’s architectural and cultural value. Any development of the property now would require Listed Building Consent.

Built in 1766, 28 Charlotte Street has been listed as a heritage asset at Grade II, thanks to it being “an externally little-altered example of an C18th terraced townhouse with an inserted C19th shopfront”. Heritage sorts also flagged the “legibility of its floor plan, and surviving range of interior joinery and features”, and artistic links with Adrian Heath and the post-war Modernists.

No.28 became a bit of hub for the abstract art movement in the 1940s and 50s, hosting the likes of Victor Pasmore, Terry Frost, Peter Lanyon, and Patrick Heron. An impressive double-height studio – designed by Charlotte Baden-Powell – was added at the back of the property in the 1960s. Birgit Skilöd then used the property as a print studio, attracting very big names including David Hockney and Eduardo Paolozzi.

26 Charlotte Street, next-door, has also been Grade II listed.

28 Charlotte Street, now Grade II listed