Developer accused of holding the Council to ransom

Clifton Cape offer to end appeal against refusal of 28 storey tower if new plan is accepted

Mystery developer Clifton Cape were accused of 'holding the Council to ransom' by threatening to proceed with an appeal against their skyscraper plans unless a new application is approved.

The company which has applied to develop a 28 storey tower block on Chiswick High Road and has refused to reveal details of ownership has submitted an alternative plan. The original plan was blocked and is now the subject of an appeal with the government planning inspectorate.

The new plan includes buildings with a maximum height of 12 storeys and no demolition of the John Bull pub. It will create 170 new apartments near to the BSI building with another 6 storey building on the opposite side of the road. Clifton Cape are reportedly saying that they will only withdraw from their appeal if their alternative scheme is accepted. A Council spokesman said that they would not be held to ransom by Clifton Cape and would reject the application if it did not meet their requirements regardless of the outcome of the appeal.

The developers claim that they have the support of Mayor Ken Livingstone for their plan. The Mayor did not respond to requests for a statement on his position on the development but residents fear that he may be willing to support high rise buildings on the High Road in return for the provision of affordable housing.

The West Chiswick and Gunnersbury society have also invited the Mayor or discussions but have also received no response.

The society have also written to Ann Keen MP asking for her continued support and expressing concerns about the failure of the interests behind Clifton Cape to reveal themselves. A spokesperson for the society said, "We have undertaken a European wide search to find who they are, but there is no company registered in that name. Neither indeed can we find any records of the individuals associated with this planning application. Certainly Clifton Cape have resisted saying who the developers are behind the bid. This is unusual and also somewhat suspect."

August 23, 2003

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