Mayor Intervenes in Power Road Tower Block Application
Says proposal does not meet London Plan but could be approved with changes
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has advised Hounslow Council of his concerns about the proposal to develop a 13 storey tower block on Power Road in Chiswick.
The application is due to be considered by borough planners but the Mayor has exercised his right to intervene in the process. He has said that the scheme does not comply with the London Plan but has suggested remedial action that could be taken to deal with these deficiencies.
The proposal is for a major development on the corner of Power Road and Gunnersbury Avenue. The project seeks to demolish the existing building at 250 Gunnersbury Avenue and redevelop the site to provide a mixed use part 11, part 12 and part 13 storey building comprising flexible workspace and co-living accommodation. The applicant is Tiger Developments Ltd. and the architect is ArchitecturePLB.
204 'co-living' units are proposed. The accommodation would feature communal eating areas, a cafe, a gym, cinema and a laundry. Co-living is a concept similar to university accommodation but for graduates and urban professionals wanting affordable accommodation and convenient on site services.
There would be workspaces at ground and first floor, aimed at small and medium enterprises (SMEs), start-ups and creative industries.
The Mayor has advised Hounslow that he does not believe that in its current form the proposal meets the requirement of the current London Plan and the updated version of that plan likely to be published in the future.
He has questioned the building of residential accommodation on the Power Road estate which is designated as a Locally Significant Industrial Site (LSIS). Although providing housing within an LSIS is not forbidden the proposal could compromise the protection afforded to the LSIS in London Plan Policy. The Mayor’s policy is that the addition of residential units to industrial sites should only be done as part of a masterplan and not on an ad hoc basis. He states that the local planning framework also does not support the introduction of residential uses within the Power Road LSIS.
Reservations are also expressed about the communal facilities in the shared living accommodation and it is recommended that the kitchen and dining areas be increased in size.
The applicant has proposed making an upfront cash payment towards the provision of off-site conventional affordable housing equivalent to 35% of the units at 50% of market rents. This falls short of the requirement of 50% of the units at 50% of market rents. The Mayor therefore wants viability testing to be undertaken to determine if the application could be allowed with a lower or delayed level of payment.
A clarification of the public benefits of the proposal is requested to show how these outweigh the damage to local conservation areas such as Gunnersbury Park and Strand on the Green. This is despite the extra harm being caused by the development being deemed as not significant given that it would be much smaller than nearby planned buildings such as those proposed for the B&Q site.
Further information is also required before it can be determined occupants will not be exposed to elevated levels of PM10.
If the Council makes a determination on the application it must now consult the Mayor again who could direct them to refuse or approve the plan.
The existing building has been vacant since November 2014 when the previous tenant departed. Attempts to lease the property or progress a viable commercial redevelopment have failed, meaning the site has been left unutilised. The permission for the 8-storey office building is still live but has not been implemented.
In 2010 an application requested that the existing building at be demolished and replaced by a six storey office building with ground and basement levels set aside for a car showroom. The plans failed to materialise.
May 20, 2020