Final Phase Of Chiswick Business Park Causes Concern
Discussed at AGM of West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society
The final phase of Chiswick Business Park, and the impact of a 12-storey building on the local Gunnersbury Triangle, along with public transport issues and the 27 bus were some of the issues discussed at the AGM of the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society (WCGS). The Chairman of the WCGS, Marie Rabouhans outlines their concerns;
"We recognise the importance of the employment provided by the Business Park. However there are unresolved issues that are of real concern to us. These relate to the impact of the intensification of the Business Park especially on public transport and in particular on Gunnersbury Station. [Once Building 7 is constructed the total business floor-space of the completed park will be over 30% higher than the original threshold imposed.]
“On paper” the Chiswick Business Park is well served by public transport in terms of its proximity to stations and bus routes. In practice, however, there are major problems in terms of capacity and access.
"Late last year we were delighted to see the 27 bus extending its route to the Business Park. For anyone with a sense of place and history, what could be more fitting than a shiny red, double-decker London bus proudly turning around the Business Park? This site was previously the Chiswick Works of the London General Omnibus Company, where new buses were put through their paces and trainee drivers tested on the famous skidpan. Our pleasure was, alas, short-lived. This long-promised improvement (originally announced for Spring 2009) has not provided the intended benefit to park employees or local residents as there are no convenient bus-stops in the park, only a terminus at the northern ( Bollo Lane) end. This terminus is some distance from the occupied buildings and is accessed by temporary stairs or a lift. As a result, the buses arrive and leave empty – a sad sight.
"We are also aware of the negative impact that this final stage of development at the sensitive north-eastern corner of the business park will have on the Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve and on residents in neighbouring streets. This impact will now be compounded by that of the Blackstone development at Colonial Drive. We understand the desire by the developer and the London Boroughs of Hounslow and Ealing to maximise the potential of these sites. However, we maintain that the cumulative impact of these two developments will exact too high a price on the surrounding area.
"We believe, moreover, that a 12-storey building will damage the harmony and open feel of the park itself. See, for example WCGS Press Release of April 2005 under Archives on our website: http://www.westchiswick.org.uk/ We would agree with Mr Caplan of Blackstone as to the high quality physical environment offered by the Chiswick Business Park to its tenants. We believe that the current attractive character of the park derives from its architectural harmony, its open feel due to its mainly low-rise buildings and its beautiful landscaping. Six of the 10 currently completed buildings are of 3 storeys and the other four of either 4 or 5 storeys. Planning permission was originally granted for one 8-storey building at the northern end of the park. This has been replaced by permission for two buildings, the 9-storey Building 6, nearing completion, and Building 7.
"We have a dream – which we would like to share with Mr Caplan. If Building 7 were to step down to 7 storeys rather than up to 12, it would mediate beautifully between Buildings 6 and 8. This would not only restore the balance and symmetry of the Business Park but would also lessen the adverse impact of the building on the surrounding area. Should he also consider stepping down the apartment blocks planned for Colonial Drive, both the residents of the surrounding streets and the creatures of the Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve would sleep easy – sweet dreams come true!
March 21, 2013