The Fitzrovia Trust was established in 1985. We are a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity (Registration Number 296025). The Trust has a wholly owned trading company which operates where charitable status is inappropriate.
Our principal remit is to act as an enabling agency, working closely with local authorities, housing associations and the private and voluntary sectors. The Trust was launched with capital and revenue funding from Camden Council and the GLC and aims to:
• Acquire freeholds of mixed use properties with a view to promoting the conversion of the residential parts to high quality affordable housing by working closely with the councils and housing associations. The commercial elements will provide accommodation for shops and businesses of value to the local community.
• Acquire leases of parts or all buildings in order to bring vacant or under floors.
• Act as an enabler to ensure that vacant sites or buildings are developed in a way which provides the maximum benefit to the local community, or are conveyed to another appropriate organisation, such as a housing association.
In pursing these objectives it is the Trust’s aim to ensure that development is carried out in such a way that the amenity of the area is protected and where possible, a positive contribution is made to the architectural and historic character or Fitzrovia.
The Trust acts as a bridge between the public and private sectors and negotiates funding from a wide range of sources to pursue its objectives. In addition to initial funding from Camden and the GLC, it has assisted housing associations to obtain funds from the Housing Corporation and has also received grants and loans from the Architectural Heritage Fund and English Heritage. Additional loans have been obtained on commercial terms from financial institutions. The Trust aims to ensure that each scheme it undertakes is financially viable in its early stages and will in the long term create a surplus to be used for further projects.
In 1990 the Trust completed a major project of converting four buildings in Warren Street to a mixture of residential and retail uses. The upper parts were leased to Circle 33 who converted these to ten flats. Three shops are retained and let by the Trust.
In July 1995 the Trust completed the conversion of two further Warren Street properties. The upper parts, comprising four flats and one maisonette, were leased to Soho Housing Association. The ground floor has been retained as shops relevant to the local community.
The Trust is continually investigating other properties in the area with a view to acquisition and in some cases these have successfully been referred to other appropriate agencies. We are always aware of the difficulties of operating in an area where property values are high, where owners often impose restrictions on the sub-letting of parts of the premises and where properties change hands without coming onto the market Both Camden and Westminster’s housing and planning departments refer properties to us which they feel would fit our remit and we operate fully within the adopted planning policies for their respective areas.
‘We are particularly interested in acquiring vacant properties which are dilapidated or in need of repair. The properties must be capable of mixed use in keeping with our commitment to maintaining the character of the area’.