Local Meeting Held to Discuss Pissarro Site

Boutique developer is planning to build flats on the former restaurant site

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Local residents near the former Pissarro restaurant held a meeting this week to discuss ways to influence decision makers so that they can find the best possible solution for the cafe bar site.

Boutique developer Fruition Properties has plans for a collection of new-build apartments, some with river views.
The site was bought by Fruition/Corney Reach Way Ltd for £3.5m in a private sale in January. It was previously held by Gort Investments.

One leading campaigner said that the Corney Reach Estate was a bit of an anomaly in that it was designed as an Urban Village – as defined in the Character and Context Study. However it is a private estate that has to give pedestrian and vehicle access via private roads and walkways to the River, House Boats, Pier, Pier House and café/bar (Pissarro’s)

"The café bar was put there very deliberately by the Planners. They insisted that the whole development would only be permitted if this important local amenity was included for the benefit of the residents and the wider community. It was so important that the planners included it as a condition of the Planning Permission itself.

"There is a certain amount of feeling that unrealistic planning applications (which were contrary to pre planning advice) have been submitted and refused, consequently there hasn’t been a decision on change of use and the building has remained unoccupied for so long. Numerous people tried to take over lease but were fobbed off and remember RNLI were evicted and still need accommodation but the manager's flat remains empty. This, of course, may be unreasonable as planning procedure has to be followed but this is heavily biased towards developers and the local residents are the ones having to live with the consequences."

The development of Pissarro's has been controversial, with freeholder, Gort Investments, failing to get permission in 2014 from Hounslow Council to build seven flats and two three-bedroom townhouses.

Fruition Properties, which has acquired seven new sites in the past 12 months, says it is preparing to work closely with Hounslow Council to draw up a revised planning application.

The acquisition of the 0.24 acre Pissarro site marks Fruition Properties’ first site in Chiswick. The company sold its first commercial space – a 5,597 sq ft new build office block in Ravenscourt Park, to The Omni Group. The company has been involved in new-build and restoration schemes in West and South West London.

Gort Investments had been turned down for planning on the site but had acquired permission to demolish the building. However, this was never carried out.

At the time there were over 152 objections to the proposed development including: loss of the restaurant, no replacement of community facility, a design 'out of keeping' with the surrounding area, that it would impact on neighbours with loss of outlook, privacy, etc, and that it was an inappropriate area for high-density development.

The restaurant closed in 2013 and a previous application to redevelop the restaurant into residential units was turned down in 2014. The RNLI also lost the flat it rented on the premises, and there were a number of failed attempts to encourage restaurateurs to take on the site. The site has been lying idle since then.

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 had a chequered history, and at one stage suffered a serious fire. When it closed management said there was not enough business in that area to make it a commercially viable.

March 16, 2017

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