New Private Health Club planned in Grove Park

Residents seek adjustment to plans to develop University of Westminster Sports Grounds


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The Chiswick Area Committee will be asked at the Planning Meeting in Chiswick Town Hall on Wednesday 22nd October at 7.30pm to clear the final hurdle which will permit the building of a new private Health Club on the University of Westminsterís Sports Ground in Grove Park.

Hounslow Council gave planning permission in 1999 for the University to develop the sports facilities on the Quintin Hogg Memorial Ground on Hartington Road. The plans include two artificial hockey pitches with floodlights, tennis courts, and a sports complex containing two swimming pools, a gymnasium, a crèche and offices in two new large buildings flanking the existing Polytechnic Grandstand. Parking space will be provided for 256 cars on the former athletics track. The main justification for this substantial development on Metropolitan Open Land is to provide funding to repair the historic Grandstand and bring it back into use as part of the sports complex.

Although planning permission was given five years ago and the first part of the scheme to build the floodlit hockey pitches has been completed, the final plans satisfying the conditions imposed by the Council have not yet been agreed with the developer.

The planning issues have been further complicated by the designation of Grove Park as a Conservation Area and, earlier this year, the designation of the Polytechnic Grandstand as a Grade 2 Listed Building because of its unique and distinctive 1930ís architecture and its historical interest. Listed Building Consent is now needed from Hounslow Council to permit the demolition of a toilet and to approve the new setting for the Grandstand.

Although, in this case, Listed Building Consent is not under their formal direction, English Heritage consider that the scale, bulk and external design of the new buildings either side of the Grandstand will have an adverse impact on its integrity. English Heritage are also concerned that the Conservation Area will be adversely affected not only by the proposed new buildings but also by the massive urbanisation of open land caused by the car park.

It is clear from the submitted plans that little consideration has been given by the developers of the need to provide a complementary and harmonious setting for the Listed Building and to preserve the character of the Conservation Area.

Grove Park Residents, whilst keen to support a scheme which ensures the restoration and return to full use of the listed Grandstand, are urging the Chiswick Area Committee to defer giving Listed Building Consent and to seek substantial adjustments to the design of the complex in order to provide a worthy setting for this distinctive building within the Conservation Area.

John Hole

October 19, 2003