A 'Shard' For Chiswick?

Plan for 42-storey tower block to replace Octopus


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Hounslow Council appears to have backed a skyscraper project which would give Chiswick one of the highest buildings in London and totally transform the local skyline.

The plan is part of the Council's vision for regenerating the 'Golden Mile' which borders Brentford to the Chiswick Roundabout along the A4.

If the building dubbed 'Gateway Tower' goes ahead, Chiswick could have a building which would be one of the highest in the capital - it has the same number of floors as two of the towers in the Canary Wharf building and would be three times the height of any building in the vicinity.

Plans for the Octopus building on Chiswick Roundabout could be replaced with a 42 storey Gateway Tower (pictured comprising offices, hotel and residential flats.

The visualisation provided by Hounslow Council seems to suggest that the development of the adjacent site currently occupied by B&Q would be on a similar scale.

The Octopus itself was controversial with the design attracting criticism as it was effectively a giant advertising hoarding but work has reportedly ceased on the site and there were press reports earlier in the year that the royal families of both Qatar and Dubai were interested in acquiring the site.

A meeting earlier this month to outline plans for the regeneration of the Golden Mile revealed the proposal by developers Galliard to replace the controversial Octopus advertising 'shroud' with a high-rise development.

"Plans for the Octopus are replaced with a 42-storey Gateway Tower comprising offices, hotel and residential flats," according to a brochure seen by those at the meeting,

It outlined a building which would be 140m above ground, 42 storeys high, with 4,170 sq m internal offices, 140 hotel bedrooms, 410 flats, 5 basement levels and 150 parking spaces. And a glowing beacon at night.

A report on the meeting which was attended by representatives of the local Chamber of Commerce, developers, senior Council officers and councillors and some of the big companies on the A4 including GSK and BSkyB, was carried on our BrentfordTW8.com site.

Plans are also being discussed to redevelop the B&Q site on the A406 North Circular Road and to introduce a huge housing development in the area, to be known as Kew Gate. This envisages over a thousand extra homes in the area on top of those already due to be built as part of the Brentford Football stadium enabling project.

The graphic below which was created by consultancy firm Urban Initiatives shows a large development on the B&Q site which is similar in scale to the building occupying the current Octopus site. Chiswick Roundabout can be seen on the right of the image.

Hounslow Council's Plan for the 'Golden Mile in Brentford and Chiswick

Details showing current Octopus and B&Q site by Chiswick Roundabout

We asked the leader of London Borough of Hounslow, Steve Curran, whether the Council backed the proposal for a high-rise building to replace the Octopus. We are awaiting a reply.

Asked for her response, Labour's nominee to contest the Brentford & Isleworth constituency Ruth Cadbury (a former head of the Hounslow Council Planning Committee), commented: "I've never been a fan of tall tower blocks among traditional residential streets, so 42 floors is more than excessive and will be intrusive over a wide area."

The project would also be likely to attract opposition from residents in west Chiswick. The chair of the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society, Marie Rabouhans, said if the reports were true it was "developers gone mad".

The London Octopus was hailed by Gailliard Group as one of the most futuristic and exciting commercial buildings ever launched in London. It was set to feature huge electronic advertising screens, and reports suggested that royals from both Qatar and Dubai were likely to bid for its purchase, reputed to be £120 million.

You can read about the background to the Octopus here.

October 16, 2014

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