Meeting of residents sees unanimous opposition to plans - new residents' group planned

Local people have started to rally in opposition to the proposed development around Gunnersbury station. The focus of the discontent is the plan for a thirty storey residential/hotel tower. Many are also concerned about the loss of the John Bull pub, a popular venue for live music.

A petition has been started which has already gathered 350 signatures and homes in the streets around the development are being leafleted to ensure that people are aware of the project.

There has been a meeting of local residents in the Age Concern Hall on Oxford Road North and opposition to the plans was unanimous. It was resolved to form a society for residents of the area, provisionally called the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society. It already has 77 members.

The developer is holding an exhibition at the Town Hall with computer generated pictures of the development. Representatives of the developer and the architect will be available to answer any questions local residents may wish to ask.

Local GLA representative and Chairman of the GLA Planning Advisory Committee Tony Arbour has come out strongly against the plans saying that he fears developers are earmarking Chiswick for a cluster of tall buildings. He described the scheme as monstrous and said: "Such a development would irreparably harm the character and environment of this corner of London. I shall do whatever I can to protect my constituents from opportunistic developers who see the Mayor's strategy as a way to maximise profit at the expense of community." The Mayor has recently voiced in principle support for taller buildings in London saying: "As well as displaying our confidence in our city's future, the right sort of interesting and beautiful tall buildings can add a value and dynamism to London's skyline that Londoners and visitors to our capital can enjoy."

Peter Eversden of the Chiswick Protection Group, a federation of local amenity societies, has detailed the objections to the height of the main tower of the development in a letter to the Council. Although he welcomed the regeneration of the area he is appalled that such a "colossal" structure could be concentrated. He states: "It is surrounded by residential houses and any tall building would adversely affect the setting of those homes, of the Royal and public parks, of the locally listed buildings and of the protected views from and across the Blue Ribbon Network of the Thames and its local waterways. The proposed tower block is not in accordance with LB Hounslow's UDP policies."

He criticises the emphasis of the retail proportion of the development pointing out that people really need shops rather than more bars and restaurants. Under current guidelines a supermarket may be required as part of the development.

The strain on Gunnersbury station is also highlighted. With 7,000 extra passengers already likely to use the station in the next few years because of other developments and no real improvement in train frequency likely over crowding on trains is likely to become critical. Bottlenecks on both the North London Line and the District line rule out increases in train frequency.

Studies on the impact on daylight for local residents show that the development will have a negative impact on a wide range of streets in the area to an extent that Mr Eversden describes as unacceptable. It is also claimed that the plans fail to meet the requirements for the inclusion of social housing and that it will have a significant negative impact on nearby parks and conservation areas.

English Heritage have already criticised the BSI building saying that it is "an anomalous presence in the predominantly low-rise part of the Borough, and its highly damaging impact on the surrounding area and in distant views of this part of the Borough." They urged more low rise options to be considered for the area.

Meanwhile the identity of the developer Clifton Cape remains a mystery with no company of that name registered in the U.K. There is some suggestion that the company's investors are from Hong Kong.

Minutes of Meeting of Local residents

Full Text of Letter of Objection from Peter Eversden

Sample Letter of Objection from local resident

Spokesman for Developer Urges Residents to View Plans Before Deciding

Comment on this issue on the Chiswick Discussion Forum

Transport Plans for Chiswick Business Park

Your local Council Representatives

Contact details for your MP