Bid to 'Reclaim Chiswick' Moves A Stage Further

Public meeting next week and crowdjustice site launched to help with legal challenge to Lend Lease development

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The campaign to challenge the 'Manhattan style' development by Lend Lease at Empire House and Essex Place is moving ahead.

A Public Meeting will be held at Christ Church Turnham Green on Thursday 9th July at 7.30 pm.

A crowdjustice site has been launched to raise £10,000 to spread the financial load for the judicial review being sought by local resident Simon Kverndal QC, which is supported by four local residents' groups.

Fliers being distributed to the public about the meeting state that if the "Manhattan-style invasion is allowed to rise up and dominate the Chiswick skyline, it will open the floodgates for further high-rise buildings all along the High Road and beyond."

They urge locals to "Reclaim Chiswick Before It's Too Late."

The development consists of 72 residential units, including affordable homes, in Essex Place and Acton Lane. The Empire House tower block is currently being refurbished from office to residential, on sale as The Opus Collection, with new retail frontage of seven units planned below.

The Judicial Review is being taken by Simon Kverndal QC, and is supported by local lawyers and four residents’ groups, challenging the legality of the planning decision. The Judicial Review application was launched on 14 May.

Mr. Kverndal, who has lived in Chiswick for 17 years, says that he cares about the local community and is horrified about the prospect of it being "dominated and disfigured" by towering new eight-storey apartment blocks and the additional two storeys added to the unsightly 1960s block (Empire House).

He says he canot believe that Hounslow Council can be allowed to give permission to a deelopment which "clearly contradicts their own planning policy" and is committed to ensuring that justice should be done by overturning its decision.

The campaigners are waiting for the court's decision as to whether they can proceed to a full hearing without an oral application. If the court gives permission in writing, they will be preparing for a full hearing. If it does not, they will be preparing for an oral hearing for permission-they hope to have a decision on whether permission is granted for a hearing before the end of July.

Those opposed to the development say that if it goes ahead as envisaged, it will undoubtedly set a precedent for high rise buildings throughout Chiswick. They also say it goes against the aspirations of the emerging Local Plan, and is not appropriate in a Conservation Area.

They are also criticial of what they see as a lack of proper consultation with local residents and businesses.

The groups, which include the Friends of Turnham Green, Chiswick High Road Action Group (CHRAG), the West Chiswick & Gunnersbury Society and Acton Green Residents Association say that they "not against development."

They say they welcome good and sustainable development that will maintain the spirit and vibrancy of Chiswick but they "strongly object to greedy and inappropriate developments, such as this one."

More information at


June 30, 2015