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DCMS rules out India Club Strand listing

By Paul Norman - Friday, May 11, 2018 11:06

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The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced that the London home of the well known India Club Restaurant and Strand Continental Hotel will not be listed, unlocking plans to refurbish the building.

Marston Properties, the family-owned company which own the building, will now move forward with its plans to "refurbish and update the building to modern standards while retaining and repairing the external front façade, which dates from around 1910".

Marston said: "The building, located at 143-145 The Strand, is in desperate need of improvement works to bring it in line with modern fire safety and accessibility standards. A recent fire safety report made clear that the building currently has no safe route of exit in the event of fire and has a number of other major safety issues which need to be addressed to ensure the safety of all inside."

The operators of the India Club restaurant had applied to have the building officially listed as a place of historic importance. The club has reportedly been an Indian restaurant and meeting place since as far back as the 1950s, with links to the Indian independence movement.

However, Marston argued that the original request to list the building was based on a false connection between the local restaurant and the historic India Club, the political organisation with important ties to the Indian independence movement, particularly so at the time of India’s partition in 1947.

It said: "An independent report by KM Heritage consultants, submitted to Historic England as part of the listing process proved that not only was the building’s fabric/design of very little architectural merit, but also the building had no connection with this political organisation during this era There was no restaurant before the mid 1960s contrary to some of the claims."

In reporting to DCMS with a firm recommendation to the secretary of state not to list, Historic England re-confirmed their own viewpoint that “the building did not come into use as The India Club until 1964 and had no direct link” (with The India League). They also stated that “143-145 Strand falls far short of the criteria for listing on the grounds of architectural special interest”.

Marstons are exploring several avenues for the refurbishment of the building .It is expected that the Hotel’s management will be offered the option to take a new lease after the building renovation has been completed.

Caroline Marston, director of Marston Properties, said: “We are pleased that DCMS have decided not to list 143-145 Strand. The building is in desperate need of refurbishment to make sure it is in line with modern building standards."

“The upcoming end of the leases are our only opportunity to carry out much needed renovations to preserve this characterful building for decades to come. We remain open to working with the current leaseholders to ensure that the building lives up to its full potential for the next 100 years.

“As a small, family-owned business, we have always sought to restore our buildings in a manner that respects their heritage whilst ensuring they are still relevant and meet modern safety and accessibility standards.”

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