Investors Being Sought To Redevelop Sainsbury's Site

Hounslow Council to market the site at property conference in Cannes

View of the site being proposed for redevelopment

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Hounslow Council appears to have come on board with Sainsbury's to try to redevelop the site surrounding the supermarket and is seeking investors at international property conference MIPIM in Cannes.

The Council's investment arm has published a notice marketing the Chiswick site as an ideal opportunity for a mixed use development. It says the site area of 1.77 hectares has "potential mixed-use including retail and residential."

Sainsburys has told that any development of the site would not impact on the store.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “Our Chiswick store is incredibly popular and we have no plans to close or relocate. We own the freehold to our site and are looking at a number of redevelopment options, but it is too early to speculate.”

Speculation had mounted in recent months that a Chiswick redevelopment might be on the cards, following Sainsbury's acquisition of the freehold of the site where the supermarket and car park is based. It is not yet known how any development would affect the car-park.

A paragraph in last December's interim trading statement from Sainsbury's had confirmed the supermarket giant's interest in "future potential for a mixed use development." which had been an "emerging policy requirement of Hounslow Council."

The area has been the subject of speculation and rumour for the past five years, ever since drawings emerged for what appeared to be a relocation of the supermarket to front the High Road- this was dismissed at the time. Subsequently Lend Lease acquired the Empire House and Essex Place site nearby and started on a controversial residential development, which was opposed by local resident's groups and by Sainsbury's.

Sainsbury's argued that the development was piecemeal and premature and that it would prevent a comprehensive development of the site, which is to the north of Chiswick High Road.

They were also concerned that Lend Lease scheme would have a "detrimental impact" on the operation of its store and claimed that there were "clear conflicts arising from a residential development being in close proximity to an operational foodstore."

View from over Turnham Green looking across at development on site of Sainsbury's car park (from Tate Hindle's 2012 plan)

The Lend Lease scheme for Empire House/Essex Place was unpopular with a section of the local community and resident groups and one local unsuccessfully sought a judicial review of the manner in which Hounslow Council's awarded planning permission to the developer. Work on the scheme has gone quiet in recent months.

One local source said there were unsubstantiated reports that the two companies had been in exploratory talks to see if there was a way forward towards a comprehensive development of the site. We were unable to confirm this. The source said this might be "an opportunity to have it done properly with involvement of LBH but also local residents who never said they were against development of the site, but rather the way in which the developer and the council went about it."

Chiswick High Road showing new Sainsbury's stretching from Essex Place toward Acton Lane

The Sainsbury site was owned jointly with property investment company British Land which cashed in its investment by selling on the freehold.

The site runs from the back of the Empire House development to the railway line and includes both the supermarket site and car park - the latter is subject to a covenant with Hounslow Council but only in relation to charges for parking. It is understood that Sainsbury's do not believe that the covenant would prevent them developing the site.

We have asked Hounslow Council's investment arm for comment.

March 8, 2017

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