Proposals For Chiswick House Get Planning Green Light

Including new cafe, children's play area, improved car parking and tree works

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Chiswick House Trust

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Contentious plans for the regeneration of Chiswick House and Grounds were given the green light by Hounslow’s Sustainable Development Committee this week. At the 17th December meeting, members granted full planning permission for English Heritage proposals to restore the house and gardens and enable the site to be financially self-sufficient.

Proposals include the demolition of existing cafe and erection of a new cafe, temporary marquee area, children's play area, improved access and car parking, erection and repair of built features (including walls and ornamental structures), repaving and replanting and the highly contended felling of various trees within the grounds. Other elements of the plans comprise of the much needed restoration of the Conservatory as well as new buildings in the service yard and new lighting.

Throughout the obligatory consultation period with local residents, community groups and government officials, the majority of the negative responses objected to the loss of the trees with one objector stating “The work would be arboreal vandalism in the name of historical reconstruction.”

English Heritage believe restoring Chiswick House and gardens to its former glory in the days of Lord Burlington is key “The opening up of views and vistas not seen for generations and the vigorous replanting and tree management activities outweighs the loss of trees. This is the opportunity of a lifetime that should be taken following years of neglect. The scheme should be looked at holistically and not with regard to individual trees.”

Other objectors believe that “The café is too grand and competes with the house. It is a pseudo fake and too obtrusive” and “The proposed lighting is excessive, costly and would disturb wildlife.”

Commenting on the planning decision, Martin Clayton, Project Director for the regeneration scheme said, "We are absolutely delighted that this application has been successful. A huge amount of work went into drawing up the proposals for regenerating the gardens by the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, with a great deal of invaluable input from a range of groups and local people. All this hard work has finally paid off.

“We now just await a decision from the Heritage Lottery Fund on whether our Stage 2 bid for funding has been successful. This will be announced at the end of January and providing we get the grant, work could start on site as early as spring 2008.”

December 19, 2007