Riverside Restaurant Pissarro Attracts Offer From Top Celebrity Chef

But future of the Corney Reach site uncertain as application lodged for development

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The riverside site occupied by restaurant, Pissarro, which closed last January, has apparently attracted the attention of a local celebrity and a celebrity chef.

However, the future of the site as a restaurant remains undertain as a planning application has been lodged by thre freeholder to develop the site into eight flats.

A source told Chiswickw4.com that at least one offer had been made by a local celebrity and a top television chef but the negotiations had not yet been concluded. The potential investors were not available for comment on the matter.

It is understood that there have been thirty-six enquiries since the premises closed ranging from experienced restaurateurs to those involved in a first-time venture.

Local residents in the Corney Reach area would prefer to see a restaurant retained on the site, as they believe it is of great community value. They have advised people to read the details of the planning application (reference P/2014/2596) on the Council's website and make comments if they wish.

The current application lodged the freeholder, Gort Investments Ltd is for conversion of the existing restaurant and first floor flat and an extension to provide eight two-bedroom flats with parking spaces and bicycle storage.

Gort Investments is registered in Guernsey and was set up by property developer Mr. Henry Gwyn-Jones who is also the managing director and founder of of property investment company Landmark Property Management which has interests in eastern Europe. Mr. Gwyn-Jones is the owner of Ballinatray House, a mansion on the Blackwater river near Youghal, County Cork.

In a pre-application advice statement in 2013, Hounslow Council said that it would need to be adequately demonstrated that the original community facility was no longer viable.

Pissarro was closed last January by restaurateur James Hallet. Its riverside location had for years made it a popular venue for summer weddings and birthday celebrations but trading conditions had become difficult and he said there was not sufficient 'footfall' to make it commercially viable.

The view of the river from Pissarro

James and his father Anthony had been involved with Pissarro for a number of years. The restaurant, which was named in honour of the 'Father of French Impressionism', Camille Pissarro (who painted many local scenes in the 1890s), opened in the late 1990s when it was owned by local investors. The restaurant has had a chequered history,and at one stage suffered a serious fire.

It had attracted a loyal following, including some well-known local celebrities who often dined there including actor Timothy Dalton, theatre director Trevor Nunn and ITN newsreader Trevor Mc Donald.

The interior of the restaurant

Pissarro was also very involved with the local community in Corney Reach, from the RNLI to Chiswick Pier events and was a centre for riverside activities during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and for the Great River Swim.

A public meeting was held with residents last February where representatives of the freeholders outlined their proposals for the change of use from restaurant to residential.

The site has been the subject of a marketing report by the landlord's advisers, who stated that there had been thirty-six expressions of interest from a range of parties either seeking their first restaurant/bar venture, through to experienced restaurateurs and investors- of those , six had inspected the premises, two of them twice.

A viability report carried out to support the application has said that due to the remote location of the restaurant and other factors there was little confidence about its future prospects.

However local people have said they would prefer to see a restaurant retained and believe that with the right investors it can be made to work.


June 30, 2014