Mayor Overrules Hounslow Council Over 18-Storey Development
Development of over 400 flats at Citroen garage site looks set to proceed
The building of five tower blocks on the Citroen garage site on Capital Interchange Way in Brentford looks set to proceed after the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, rejected Hounslow Council’s refusal of the plan.
The mixed used development which will contain 441 units, nearly 50% of which will be classes as affordable, comprises buildings of 12, 13, 15, 16 and 18 storeys in height.
Council planners originally felt that the height and density of the scheme was excessive. They also believed that there would be 'substantial harm' to the setting of a number of heritage assets which would include Gunnersbury Park and Kew Gardens. The proposal was also deemed to be a departure from the local Development plan and the planners said that it has failed to demonstrate that the maximum viable amount of affordable housing has been provided within the development.
The scheme provided some commercial provision on the ground floors as well as a nursery, 69 car spaces and an additional 8 disability spaces, along with 696 cycle spaces. 20% of parking spaces will have electric charging points.
The development was refused by Hounslow Council in February this year at which point it was ‘called in’ by the Mayor, a process which allows him to make the decision himself. The developers subsequently increased the proportion of affordable housing they were prepared to offer from the 40% stipulated in the original application.
The approved scheme includes a review mechanism which means that if building is not ‘well underway’ within two years of the permission being granted, the developer could be compelled to provide further affordable homes.
Sadiq Khan, said: “This scheme shows how we can unlock the potential of an underused site to build more of the genuinely affordable homes Londoners so urgently need. I’m clear that to fix the capital’s housing crisis Government must play its part, but we can make a difference now by ensuring developments include more genuinely affordable housing.
“I have carefully considered the impacts of these plans – particularly the effect on historic buildings in nearby Kew Gardens – and have concluded that the benefit of delivering more than 400 homes, including 218 genuinely affordable homes, justifies granting permission.”
The Mayor held public hearing on July 20, in which he heard evidence from parties for and against the development (including Hounslow Council, the developer L&Q, local residents and Historic England). His formal decision was made following a site visit on Wednesday 22 August.
Under the terms of application, the developer will also contribute £30,000 towards improvements to nearby Gunnersbury Station which is likely to experience increased usage once the development is completed.
It was recently revealed that new plans are to be submitted to Hounslow Council for another site on Capital Interchange Way.
A previous plan with a controversial design was rejected by council planners last year who concluded that the proposed buildings would cause ‘serious harm’ to the area including spoiling the view from heritage assets such as Kew Gardens.
Now listed developer Redrow has announced that it is teaming up with social housing firm Catalyst to present totally different plans in a £180 million project for the site near the planned Brentford football stadium. The original plan had building of up to 22 storeys in height.
Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said, “As with all applications, the proposal for the Citroen site on Capital Interchange Way, Brentford, was reviewed by our planning officers. Following his call-in of the officers’ decision to refuse the application, and subsequent public hearing, the Mayor decided to approve the scheme, and we respect his decision.
“We also share the Mayor’s commitment to provide more low cost social housing, not only to meet the target in Hounslow but in the rest of London, and will continue to work with the Mayor to ensure we provide the best possible housing for the residents of the Borough”.
August 24, 2018