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March 29, 2013
Utterly Unacceptable

The Savile Row Bespoke Association (SRBA) has won some valuable concessions from Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) regarding the chain store’s plan to open a children’s clothing store on Savile Row.

The Planning Inspectorate announced on 21st March that it has allowed an appeal from the American clothing chain to make changes to the Grade II* listed building at no. 3 Savile Row (pictured), where it plans to open the store.

However, strict conditions have been won by Westminster City Council which means that should A&F’s owners wish to proceed, they will not be able to have blacked out windows, strip lighting or a flagpole, each of which are synonymous with their stores throughout the world.

The SRBA is dedicated to preserving Savile Row as the world centre of the finest bespoke tailoring and Westminster Council has designated the street a Special Policy Area, stating: “It is necessary to provide specific protection for the unique clusters of specialist uses which are central to London’s character and ensure these clusters are not eroded by pressure from other commercial uses”.

Cllr Alastair Moss, Westminster City Council chairman of planning and city development, stated after the hearing: "This is the result we expected and it goes in hand with the concerns that Westminster City Council have expressed throughout this process.

"It seemed as if Abercrombie and Fitch never even tried to understand the importance of a Grade II* listed building in central London, and some of their proposals were utterly unacceptable. The conditions will ensure the special character of the world renowned Savile Row will be preserved".

A spokesman for the Savile Row Bespoke Association commented: “The Savile Row Bespoke Association thanks Westminster City Council for its ruling to protect Savile Row, one of the most unique locations in London. The Appeal decision is another public statement to Abercrombie & Fitch that its proposals to open a children’s store on Savile Row are out of keeping with the Row and its iconic status.

"The members of the Savile Row Bespoke Association would also like to applaud those that have supported its campaign, including the Row’s top bespoke tailors, the City Council and many others including the New West End Company and Dylan Jones, Chairman of London Collections: Men and editor of GQ.”

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