Date: May 2018
Location: 143-145 The Strand, London, UK
Name: Strand Continental Hotel & India Club restaurant.
No. of Keys (Currently): 26 – more Hostel than Hotel
Owner: Marston Properties, the landlord said the original request to list the building was based on a false connection between the local restaurant and the historic India Club, a political organisation with important ties to the Indian independence movement at the time of India’s partition in 1947.
An independent report by KM Heritage consultants, submitted to Historic England as part of the listing process found that the building had no connection with the political organisation during this era.
After a consultation process where evidence from both the landlord and tenant was reviewed, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) rejected the listing request.
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.
Marstons are exploring several avenues for the refurbishment of the building, and said it expected to offer the hotel’s current management the option to take a new lease after the building renovation has been completed.
Tenant: Goldsand Hotels, who launched a campaign to “save the restaurant” and applied to Westminster City Council for the building to be listed after Marston revealed plans to carry out a programme of refurbishment which it said was necessary to comply with modern fire and access standards.
Goldsand claimed the India Club held historical significance because it was the only surviving location of the India League in London. The India League was an organisation whose aim was to campaign for full independence and self-government for India.
India Club has argued that the building adheres to building standards and that the planned refurbishment does not respect its heritage. It also said it had not been contacted by Marston Properties about a new lease following the refurbishment.
The statement from India Club continued: ”We are deeply disappointed with the decision which undervalues more than 50 years of India Club’s historic, social and cultural importance. The rejection of the listing application is not only a personal blow to us as proprietors of 143 Strand, but also to the multitude of people who are intrinsically linked to the building through generations of their family history. It is an authentic part of London’s past and has contributed towards the creation of a diverse and multicultural capital city.”
THPT Comment: ermmm difficult one, on the one hand to potentially lose this iconic, landmark Indian restaurant, right in the centre of London and a cheap, albeit fairly rough hotel, is sad. On the other we suspect Marston will refurb the building sympathetically and we gain another independent hotel in London’s Strand. Would be great if they keep the restaurant.
First Seen: Property Week