Chiswick High Road Development Could Include New Hotel

Local meeting hears details of potential changes, sets up steering group

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A steering committee of concerned local groups has been formed as more details emerge about possible developments on the Chiswick High Road which could include a hotel, or a development of flats and shops near Essex Place.

A meeting of over 150 people including six councillors, held at Christ Church, Turnham Green agreed to come together to provide what one organiser called “ a powerful and positive voice” for local residents in the face of potential developments.

Local people say they are anxious to prevent any over-development of the area which could change the character of the Chiswick High Road.

Hounslow Council has been contacted for pre-planning discussions with one development in mind for 408-426 Chiswick High Road. This does not include any reference to Sainsbury Store or the Sainsbury car-park.

The applicant’s agent has told the Council it is acting for Scottish Widows Investment Partnership ( SWIP), who are the new asset managers for Clerical Medical Investment Group Ltd, the freehold holder of the site. SWIP do not own, or asset manage the Sainsbury Store which has recently been the subject of unconfirmed reports that it might move its frontage to the High Road.

Two possible areas for development at the early stage of consideration by SWIP include retaining and refurbishing Empire House (the existing tower building fronting Chiswick High Road), and converting it into a 104 bedroom hotel, with a series of retail shops remaining in the ground and first floor, in a refurbished podium, and with 60 parking spaces.

A second option proposes the refurbishment and change of use of the existing tower to 57 residential units, with shops on the ground and first floor and about 80 parking spaces.

Both options also include a new three-storey office building on the site at the corner of Acton Lane/Essex Place and two new 5 storey residential buildings on Essex Place providing a total of 36 units.

SWIP say both options are at the early stages of consideration by them and their project team.

“The pre-application submission/discussion with Officers of the Council is at an early stage in our client’s consideration of the development options for this largely vacant property. Subject to these discussions and other considerations, should SWIP decide to progress to the preparation of formal planning application wider consultations will be undertaken as required."

Cllr Peter Thompson who was present at the meeting has published details in the Forum.

One person who attended the meeting said there was a feeling that there may be other plans in the pipeline for the area. People were especially concerned about high rise buildings and it was felt any development offered opportunities as well as threats.

It was emphasised at the meeting that there were buildings everyone wanted to see retained, while some people felt that some buildings along that parade could be improved.

There was great concern at the meeting over any increase in shopfloor surface and residential / office space that would have serious knock-on effects on traffic, trucks, or local schools.

“ You could say that there was great anxiety about the local character, scale and context of the existing High Road, and a desire to be kept informed and listened to with regard to proposed developments”, commented one organiser.

People who wished to receive the minutes, want to get involved further or receive further information can contact

October 6, 2012