Ocado Founder Seeks To Create Chiswick Mall 'Forever Home'

Enhancements include pavilion in riverside garden

Island House on Chiswick Mall bought for 7,550,000
Island House on Chiswick Mall bought for £7,550,000


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One of the founders of the online delivery company Ocado is seeking to make substantial changes to a historic house on Chiswick Mall.

Jason Gissing bought Island House last September for £7,550,000. The former Goldman Sachs bond trader retired in 2014 selling £15 million worth of shares as he departed the company he helped set up in 2000 but is believed to still hold a substantial stake in the business.

His stated reason for his departure was that he wished to concentrate on social an environment projects and spend more time with his children.

He is married to Katinka, a former downhill skier, whose father led the first Norwegian ascent of Everest with Sir Chris Bonington and is perhaps best known for having been married to Diana Ross.

Island House is a 4 storey, 6-bedroom terrace house with views of the River Thames. In documentation submitted with the planning application, the wish of the family to turn the house into a home suitable to raise their four children is outlined. It is stated that they plan to reside there for the long term and that Island House met perfectly their desire for a suitably sized home in an area that is also centred on family life. This aspiration is now commonly described by estate agents as a ‘forever home’.

The price paid for the Gissings for the property is the third highest price ever paid for a Chiswick home with nearby Walpole house the most expensive ever at £12,500,000. It was purchased from Mr John Waldron who had lived in the property for 36 years and the Gissings say they hope to remain there for a similar length of time.

The house was built around 1840 and has one of the best views of the river on Chiswick Mall situated opposite Chiswick Eyot and the opens spaces of Leg o’ Mutton Pond Nature Reserve and the playing fields beyond giving a vista that gives the impression of being in a non-urban setting.

Former occupants of the house include Warwick Draper who published a history of Chiswick and Arthur John and Alexander Sich who were members of the brewing family that set up the brewery on Church Street.

By the sixties the house had been divided up into four maisonettes with one occupied by Sir John and Lady Wise who had sole access to the riverside garden.

It is now proposed to substantially upgrade and modernise the house with regard to its historic significance. Solar panels and an air source heat pump are to be installed whilst, unusually for a listed building, air conditioning would be installed on the upper floors. The installation of air conditioning is justified by the frequent heatwaves in recent years. The solar panels would not be visible from Chiswick Mall. Rotten windows are to be replaced and the original layout of the house is to be returned with alterations made when the property was divided up into maisonettes removed. A substantial level of technical work has already been undertaken and advice on the plans has been sought from borough planning and conservation officers.

A new conservatory is proposed at the rear of the house as well as a pavilion in the front riverside garden, which is separated from the house by Chiswick Mall. The wooden pavilion, which planning documents describe as ‘perhaps slightly camp’, would have an electricity supply but no plumbing. It is stated, “The pavilion, although largely out of view from the street, will become a local landmark and bring pleasure to the numerous passers-by who enjoy the river and Chiswick Mall. It will actively enhance its setting.”

The Old Chiswick Protection Society, while generally not opposed to the overall application, is not in favour of this part of the scheme. A new pontoon on the Thames is also proposed.

New pavilion proposed for front garden on Chiswick Mall
New pavilion proposed for front garden on Chiswick Mall

A statement submitted with the application indicates that a plan for a swimming pool and new garden building, presumably in the rear garden, will be submitted at a later date.

Hounslow Council’s reference for the planning application is P/2021/3428.

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September 12, 2021

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