Council Planners Recommend Approval for Brentford FC Development
Negative impact of scheme deemed to be outweighed by community benefits
A report by Hounslow Council recommending approval for Brentford FC’s stadium and associated housing development has been published. This is to be considered by councillors on the planning committee at a special meeting on December 5th.
If approved the 20,000 capacity stadium would be open by mid-2016 and the housing would built on a phased basis with completion scheduled for 2023. This would bring an estimated 2,410 extra residents to the area once it has finished. The club would retain ownership of the stadium but sell the housing sites to fund the stadium’s construction.
An aerial view of the proposed stadium
A viability assessment on the project has been used to determine that the initial outline application for the residential development should include no provision for social housing and the community benefits deemed to be delivered by the club are used to justify reduced s106 contributions which would normally be used to mitigate the impact of any development on local infrastructure and services. The applicant has agreed to a review mechanism where if viability increases to an agreed level then affordable housing would be provided on site and/ or contributions will be made up to a capped amount.
There were 1,168 objections to the proposals of which over half came from Chiswick and another quarter from Kew. A petition with 276 signatures was also received objecting to the loss of the stable block building on Lionel Road.
In total 1,967 individual responses in support of the proposal were received over half of which were from outside London and only around a fifth from the Borough of Hounslow. In addition 3,179 postcards distributed by Brentford supporters were returned. Just over half of these came from the London area with about a fifth from the local borough. Less than 10% of the cards sent came from a TW8 post code.
Ealing Council made no objection to the scheme but Richmond Council objected on the grounds of the visual impact of the proposed enabling development and the failure to address traffic issues. The Greater London Authority on behalf of the Mayor expressed reservations about the scheme including the lack of social housing and the relatively low number of family units within the scheme as well as likely pressure on social infrastructure but did not lodge an objection.
Transport for London made no objection but made a number of suggestions for improving traffic conditions in the area. It stated that pedestrian crowd flow modelling indicated that on match days, local road closures would also be necessary, especially for the post match period. They suggest on-street parking should be discouraged through match day and that and that capped parking levels should be supported by CPZs within a nearby existing residential area (subject to consultation) to address potential overspill.
English Heritage have objected to the enabling development on the grounds of its impact on local listed buildings and riverside views. Kew Gardens also objected on the grounds of the visual impact.
Support from the scheme came from a number of local schools and sporting charities that benefit from the club’s community activities. There was backing also from the Brentford Chamber of Commerce, Hounslow Chamber of Commerce and Stephen Pound, MP for Ealing North. Objections were made by the Brentford Community Council and a significant number of other residents’ groups.
The report accepts that the visual impact around the development including the Wellesley Road and Strand on the Green conservation areas will be ‘minor to moderate’ The suggest the design of the tall buildings should have colours and surface finishes which ‘visually retreat’, along with mass and modelling which ‘reduces their bulk on the horizon’.
The development view from Kew Green
The approval has a condition which prohibits the use of the stadium for rugby but this can be reconsidered at a later date.
On transport, the report suggests that over 2,000 people would use Gunnersbury station on match day if the stadium was full to capacity. This could lead to queuing of up to half an hour at the station. The report points out that £620,000 of funds for improvements to Gunnersbury Station is presently available and unspent, from a s106 obligation for Chiswick Business Park.
2,591 cars are expected for an attendance of 20,000. The report states that 2,719 available on-street spaces would be available with the catchment area. It is recommended that a contribution of £200,000 be made for consultation and implementation (if agreed) costs of a match day, and a non-match day CPZ, with £10,000 for the issue of an initial permit to residents subject to the match-day CPZ.
Given the extra demand for school places that the development would create Brentford FC would normally be expected to make a contribution of over £2,000,000 to help cover the cost. This has been reduced to £1,558,810 with credit given to the club for the educational facilities incorporated into the scheme.
A carbon offset is also to be made with a contribution of £118,390 to be used locally in Gunnersbury Park for sustainability enhancements.
The planning committee meeting to decide the application will be broadcast live on the internet by Hounslow Council. The meeting takes place at 7:30pm on Thursday, 5 December, at the Lampton Park Conference Centre, and given the significant interest in the application, the council has decided to webcast the meeting. The webcast of the meeting will be available at www.hounslow.public-i.tv.
November 22, 2013