The India Club Restaurant in London announced on Tuesday that the Westminster City Council’s Planning Committee has rejected redevelopment plans for the restaurant. The India Club Restaurant and Strand Continental Hotel was started by Krishna Menon, India’s first envoy to the United Kingdom, with former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten as co-founders.
A “Save India Club” petition to Westminster City Council was started this year which has received 26,000 signatures. “The India Club Restaurant and Strand Continental Hotel are presently subject to a planning application for comprehensive modernisation that would result in the loss of its current usage, including the second floor restaurant and first floor bar,” the petition read. “As operators of the hotel, bar and restaurant we are opposing these redevelopment plans. We want to preserve the building and its uses as they are and also preserve the rich cultural history they represent.”
The petition also said the India Club “was a meeting place for leading writers, intellectuals and politicians associated with India’s independence” and “a crucial part of the joint heritage of the United Kingdom and India”.
Tony Devenish, chairperson of the Westminster City Council’s Planning Applications Sub-Committee Councillor, said the India Club occupies a special place in the history of “our Indian community”. “Westminster Council refused permission for the redevelopment of 143-145 Strand because of the potential loss of an important cultural venue located on its site, the India Club,” Devenish said. “It is right that we protect it from demolition.”
On Tuesday, the India Club said: “We are delighted that Westminster Council has refused an application that would have seen a unique and iconic piece of London’s history disappear. We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received....the India Club is a constant reminder of Westminister’s multicultural identity and Indo-British friendship.”
The restaurant said it will now continue to campaign for the long-term preservation of the structure.