191 Kingsway is not devoid of architectural charm. It has a mixture of square and canted bays, a quirky balcony, amazing sprinkling of small windows on the east elevation and unusual side entrance. The fact that it is only two storeys plus loft high, among otherwise much taller buildings, provides a pleasing variation to the Kingsway roofline.
Planning application BH2011/03956 called for demolition of 191 and replacement with the central block shown in the visualisation below. In this picture the building on the right is an artist's impression of what might replace the Sackville Hotel (no.189 Kingsway). This collapsed a few years ago during conversion. The latest application for the Sackville Hotel site, BH2012/00982, has yet to come before the Planning Committee.
Meanwhile it can be seen that the building proposed for 191 Kingsway extends over what used to be a 20ft wide gap between the buildings providing, in the bottom right-hand corner, an entrance to basement car parking. The gap left between the building is now minimal and the developers of 189 objected to the plans for 191 on the basis of loss of light. The Sackville Hotel had windows on the west elevation and the developer argues that they are entitled to reinstate these without loss of amenity. However legal advice to the Planning Committee was that this was not a planning consideration but rather a matter for the interested parties to resolve elsewhere.
In the end the Planning Committee, at their meeting yesterday, voted to refuse the application for 191 Kingsway on the grounds that it was out of scale and character with neighbouring properties on Kingsway and the nearby side streets of Walsingham Road and Sackville Gardens.
These rather vague criticisms will surely give the architect considerable difficulty in deciding exactly what modifications are required. On the other hand, intentionally or not, the decision to refuse seems rather clever. It presumably gives time for the application for no.189 to be approved, complete with side windows, and, if so, future plans for no.191 will have to reinstate the full gap. This will inevitably reduce the size of the redevelopment.
Other reading: 149/151 Kingsway update