Campaign To Have Pissarro Site 'Asset Of Community Value'

Local group hope that the location could still host a restaurant

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Locals in the Corney Reach area have lodged an application with Hounslow Council to have the Pissarro site considered as an Asset Of Community Value.

The restaurant closed over eighteen months ago, and an application to redevelop the restaurant into flats was withdrawn last August. The plans for the Chiswick riverside site had been controversial and nearly 200 residents had opposed the plans which would have extended the existing site and build eight two-bedroom flats with parking spaces and bicycle storage.

A local group calling itself the Friends of Corney Reach Cafe/Bar has now submitted the application to Hounslow Council for the site to be considered as an Asset of Community Value. They expect to have a decision by the end of October. Their application has the backing of the three Homefields ward councillors John Todd, Gerald McGregor and Robert Oulds.

A Facebook page has also been set up to provide information and a point of contact for those interested in the issue.

Under the Localism Act 2011, voluntary and community organisations can nominate an asset to be included on a list of 'assets of community value' managed by the Council. If the owner of a listed asset wants to sell, a six-month moratorium is triggered during which the asset cannot be sold. This gives community groups some time to develop a proposal and raise the required capital to bid for the asset when it comes on the open market at the end of the six months.

There are currently three such Assets of Community Value in the borough- one, the Tabard Theatre, is in Chiswick, while the others, a village hall and a pub, are in Isleworth.

In their submission to Hounslow Council, the campaigners say that there are limited facilities along that part of the river Thames and in the immediate neighbourhood, and the restaurant had served as an important Community facility in that respect. It had supported the social wellbeing and social interests of the local community for seventeen years and 186 residents had objected to the planning application on a change of use.

"The Community Facilities have only ceased to be used for the social wellbeing of the community because the freeholder paid the lessor to surrender the lease, the freeholder wrongly asserts that a restaurant cannot be viable as part of a plan to obtain planning permission to change it into flats and the freeholder has deliberately left the premises empty and unused to further its personal gain at the expense of the local community, " according to their submission.

The freeholders are Gort Investments. At one stage it was rumoured that a celebrity TV chef was amongst those interested.

Pissarro, 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 closed down in January 2014 with management saying there was not enough business in that area to make it a commercial success.


September 17, 2015