An application has been made to turn 9-12 Bell Yard into luxury flats

Top criminal chambers forced to seek new premises as developers sniff cash

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The leading criminal barristers’ chambers 9-12 Bell Yard is being booted out of its home in the heart of legal London to make way for millionaires seeking a pied-á-terre in the capital.

Legal Cheek has learned — thanks to one of our commenters — that a planning application has been lodged to change the use of the existing building from office to residential with an objective to “provide 9 residential units at 9-12 Bell Yard”.

Yesterday evening the set’s boss, Mukul Chawla QC, confirmed to us that his chambers is having to seek new premises from 2017 because the freehold of the building has been sold. Given that 9-12 Bell Yard takes its name from its address, this will cause something of a branding problem.

Reflecting on the “sad fact of life that office space is being bought up around Fleet Street to convert into residential accommodation which is much more valuable”, Chawla told Legal Cheek that he is determined to keep the set together. He went on:

Over the next 2 years we will be looking for alternative accommodation. There is no question of these chambers breaking up — we are a very happy band of people who have worked hard to make Chambers a success and intend to carry on doing so. The fact that we will have to do so from another address is a challenge that we are looking forward to.

The news follows Argent Chambers’ decision last year to vacate adjoining 5 Bell Yard in order to merge with Goldsmith Chambers in the Temple. Interestingly, there has also been an application lodged to convert Argent’s former home into apartments. With Bell Yard boasting views of the Royal Courts of Justice, the properties will no doubt fetch a hefty sum.

Chawla doesn’t yet know where 9-12 Bell Yard will move to. When we asked if spiralling legal London rents would force him to consider a relocation to a cheaper part of town, he said that he wants “to stay close if possible but will have to see what is available”, adding:

Dalston is a bit too far out for us!

View the plans for 9-12 Bell Yard in full below:

9-12 Bell Yard

9 Comments

TotesTheAmateur

Surely part of the allure of living in Central London is precisely the presence of these prestigious legal chambers. If they are forced out, I daresay some of the charm of living there will be lost.

(8)(2)
Tories must burn

Shows you what’s wrong with our beautiful capital when such greedy turds are allowed to thrive. That building was perfectly fine as an administrative office, but the luxury property market glut knows no limits.

I suggest we nationalise the lot immediately and build affordable housing. Go Corbyn!

#corbyforpm2020

(19)(4)
Anonymous

It is nice to see a Corbyn supporter sticking up for lawyers. But still. ‘Tories must burn’? Isn’t that a bit extreme? Why not just have a go at winning a general election, and put the mediaeval torture and mass murder on hold?

(3)(4)
Anonymous

Accommodation should be easy. They can move into 11 Stone Buildings!

(10)(1)
Gladiatrix

As Lincolns Inn’s Property Estates office is a 2 minute walk from Mr Chawla’s door why doesn’t he go and speak to them?

(2)(2)
Anonymous

“With Bell Yard boasting views of the Royal Courts of Justice, the properties will no doubt fetch a hefty sum.” Really? A red brick side wall across the alleyway? And by the looks of it no other view at all.

Seems an odd location for luxury flats.

(2)(0)
Anonymous

Isn’t anyone lobbying the local authority to rejected the planning application?

(0)(1)

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