Another in our series of pieces about London’s local and civic societies. The Chelsea Society is one of London's largest and most active groups.
Formed in 1927 the Chelsea Society is a registered charity which currently has more than a thousand members. Its aim is to preserve and improve the amenities of Chelsea by:
- stimulating interest in the area’s history, character and traditions;
- encouraging good architecture, town planning and civic design, the planting and care of trees, and the conservation and proper maintenance of open spaces;
- seeking the abatement of nuisances
To achieve these aims the Society offers advice to owners and architects and to the Local Planning Authority, and if necessary by campaigning, making written and oral representations at public enquiries and planning appeals, and at consultations by public and private developers.
The Society exists because its past and present members have loved Chelsea for its character, its style, and its charm, and want to maintain those characteristics for future generations, influencing change so that it does not impact adversely on the area. The Society therefore encourages new and altered buildings to be designed so that their size, proportions, architectural style and setting are compatible with the character of Chelsea.
Where changes of use are proposed, the Society seeks to maintain the balance which has been achieved in Chelsea between residential accommodation for people of all income-groups, shops, offices, restaurants, schools, hospitals, open spaces, and other uses.
Governed by a Council, the current Chairman is Dr. James Thompson, who took office in November 2016, the Vice-chairman is Michael Stephen. The Secretary is Jennifer Grossman, and the Treasurer is Michael Illingworth FCA. The Society has published an Annual Report for every year since 1927 and the current editor is Dr. Sarah Ingham. The Society also publishes Newsletters, and the current editor is Michael Bach.
The Planning Committee of the Society comprises Michael Stephen (Chairman) a Barrister and former MP; Sir Paul Lever (Hans-Brompton), formerly HM Ambassador to Germany, and Chairman of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee; Martyn Baker (Chelsea Riverside) formerly Under-Secretary at the DTI and Counsellor at the British Embassy in Washington; Chris Lenon (Royal Hospital) formerly an official of the Inland Revenue, and Chair of the Tax Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee of the OECD; and Patrick Baty (Stanley) a specialist in the use of paint and colour in historic buildings, who was for over twenty years on the Executive Committee of the Georgian Group.
The Society has recently published its vision for the future of Chelsea, and papers on Air Pollution and Basement developments. It has opposed a Crossrail 2 line in Chelsea http://chelseasociety.org.uk/current-casework/
You can find out more about the Society at its website