Redevelopment plans to be considered by Council in forthcoming meeting

The controversial redevelopment plans for Hartington Court are likely to be discussed at a Council meeting in January. The Sustainable Development Committee occurs on January 17th.

Also on the agenda will be the related issue of the plans for a conservation area in Grove Park.

The 1930s art deco development with 56 units in Grove Park could be redeveloped netting the freeholder an estimated profit of £2-3 million. Leaseholders have formed a residents' association arguing that they will lose green space and communal areas.


Flats to be redeveloped

There is also concern that overdevelopment on the banks of the Thames is hampering plans to improve the river environment, the controversial Kew Riverside development being one such example. The recent Thames Strategy report focussed on the undesirability of taller structures next to the river.

Hartington Court resident, Robin Storey said: "The draft Thames Strategy expressly includes Hartington Court, as a crucial riverside landmark. As the riverside is such a sensitive area, I'm sure that the Sustainable Development Committee will make a balanced judgement and approve the Grove Park Conservation area, which would clearly demonstrate placing the conservation needs of Grove Park and the Chiswick riverside first."

Giles Underhill of Foxtons estate agents, who is advising the freeholder, has accused the residents most active in resisting the plans of misleading their neighbours and "browbeating" the older and less affluent leaseholders. He dismissed the objectors a "a few nimbys". He argued that the "symbiotic, mutually advantageous plans" were a "God-given opportunity" for the block and estimated it would increase the value of the existing flats by 20%

Mr. Storey, responded that it was insulting to the majority of residents to imply that they were not capable of making up their own minds. He said: "His reception at a meeting with leaseholders should have made him aware that the overwhelming majority of residents are very strongly against this plan." During the meeting Mr. Underhill described parts of the development as "resembling a Council slum" which prompted residents to point out that the freeholder Alan Millender was also a Director of the Managing Agent and responsible for the condition of the shared areas.

The Residents' Association (which represents all but 5 of the 56 flats) has appointed a surveyor to investigate the level of maintenance by the Managing Agent. Ann Keen MP has written to the freeholder on behalf of the residents expressing concern. Peter Eversden of the Chiswick Protection Group said that: " The plans clearly show the unacceptable increase in the bulk of the planned changes to Hartington Court and the loss of open space."

The architect is confident that the development will succeed in getting approval despite local opposition but it could have restrictions placed on it due to the grant of a local listing and the recent overwhelming support given to the plans for a Grove Park a conservation area.

Peter Thompson is the only Chiswick councillor on the Sustainable Development Committee and some have expressed concern that the unfamiliarity of many of the committee members with the area might make their decision making flawed on this issue.

Grove Park to become conservation area

Article on Hartington Court from Sunday Times