EMILY PRESCOTT: Killjoys clip Annabel's wings over floral displays

EMILY PRESCOTT: Killjoys clip Annabel's wings over floral displays

April 23, 2022

EMILY PRESCOTT: Killjoys clip Annabel’s wings with a crackdown on the floral displays which have been brightening up the millionaires’ playground

The spectacular displays that adorn the facade of Annabel’s have become a much-loved fixture, brightening up the millionaires’ playground in Mayfair throughout the year.

But are over-zealous town hall officials about to spoil the fun? I hear council chiefs have started warning bosses at the top private members’ club that they won’t be able to put up extravagant designs before seeking planning permission.

The club, founded by entrepreneur Mark Birley in 1963 and now owned by tycoon Richard Caring, counts Princess Beatrice and supermodels Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss among its regulars.

The club, founded by entrepreneur Mark Birley in 1963 and now owned by tycoon Richard Caring, counts Princess Beatrice and supermodels Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss among its regulars

I hear council chiefs have started warning bosses at the top private members’ club that they won’t be able to put up extravagant designs before seeking planning permission

It puts up the displays to mark occasions such as Christmas and Halloween, and recent decorations have included giant parrots and jungle foliage.

My mole behind the velvet curtain reveals: ‘The club does apply for permission from Westminster City Council but sometimes only after displays have been built. So earlier this year the club was asked to outline its plans for all displays for 2022. The council already asserted its authority by refusing permission for the Halloween display, which was to feature two giant aliens sitting in flying saucers.’

Annabel’s hopes to erect two floral unicorns next Saturday to mark the Chelsea Flower Show, but it has yet to receive permission. 

In a letter to the council outlining the club’s display schedule, Annabel’s planning agent Jon Dingle wrote: ‘Discussions have taken place between council officers and the applicant regarding the most appropriate way to approach the proposed displays each year. Officers have asked for confirmation of Annabel’s intentions.’ 

A spokesman for Westminster Council said the alien facade was rejected because ‘it would harm the character and appearance of the listed building’ but was unable to comment on the Chelsea Flower Show proposal because it was ‘a live application being considered by the planning committee’.

Annabel’s declined to comment.

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