Inquiry into Agent's expansion plan

Residents raise petitions against scheme saying 28 estate agents' offices are enough

Foxtons had hoped to turn their offices into the open plan cafe-style such as the one in Ealing. They sought planning permission to expand into 223-225 Chiswick High Road which was next door to their existing premises.

Local residents have raised a petition (see below) with over one hundred signatures so far - the petition states that the undersigned strongly objected to the application because that there are already 28 estate agents offices in Chiswick and "we need to keep our shops."

Planning officers have already refused the application for change of use, under delegated powers. Foxtons appealed the decision and an inquiry is to be held at Hounslow Civic Centre on Tuesday 15th April.

Residents' petition against application

Re: 223/225 Chiswick High Road. Chiswick W4 Formerly Chiswick Electrics

We the undersigned strongly object to the change of usage from retail unit to estate agent for the following reasons.
- There are already 28 estate agents offices in
- We do not need another estate agents
- We need to keep our shops

e-mail to to register your support

The shop was occupied for many years by a local business, Chiswick Electrics, who were forced to move further along the High Road when the landlord increased their rent threefold. The proprietors say that their Saturday trade has decreased considerably as a result of the move to a new location at 315 Chiswick High Road. The premises have been boarded up for about six months since they moved out.

Objectors to the expansion have claimed that the loss of yet another retail outlet on the High Road would be against the Unitary Development Plan (UDP) of Hounslow Council which governs planning issues. One local resident wrote to the planning authorities with the following comment, "In my opinion, it would be a disaster if yet another retail use were to be lost on the High Road, which is the main shopping street in the area. The character of this parade has already been impacted by the presence of several large restaurants, Café Rouge, ASK and Zizzi's, which are not generally very busy during the day but attract a large number of customers in the evening, seven days a week."

The UDP states that one of the criteria to be considered when deciding the acceptability of non-retail uses in secondary frontages is "the likely impact of the proposed use on the variety and activity in the shopping parade." Objectors claim that with so many retail uses already lost on this parade, that the variety has already been impacted greatly and if an existing estate agent was allowed to expand into the adjacent shop there would be a significant loss of amenity.

Objectors have also raised the issue of parking. Foxtons policy of using branded minis for their company fleet has made their presence very visible on the High Road with some complaints already being made over the amount of parking places they take. It is feared that a larger office would exacerbate existing parking problems. The Council's Unitary Development Plan suggests that parking problems may be a valid reason to object. It states that planning permission should take into account "the effect of the proposed use, either individually or cumulatively, on the environment, the amenity of adjoining occupiers and on access and highway considerations, particularly relating to on street parking."

If you wish to make comments on the subject of this inquiry they can be sent as soon as possible to:

Mr Ian Draper
Planning Department
London Borough of Hounslow
Civic Centre
Lampton Road

April 10, 2003

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