Citroen Garage site at Capital Interchange Way, Brentford (Hounslow Council resf P/2017/4692 and 01508/A/P6, Richmond Council ref 17/4104/CON and GLA reference D&P/4279)
Zac Goldsmith MP has written to the Secretary of State at our request to ask him to call in the Mayor’s decision in favour of this development and consider it alongside the adjacent Chiswick Curve application on which the Inspector is due to submit his report by 22nd October. The application has been called in.
The London Mayor has approved the revised planning application after making a site visit to check vistas for the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Mayor particularlry referred to the increased provision for affordable housing.
Whilst we support the drive to increase affordable housing, we remain concerned that the height of the buildings and the density will adversely affect historic vistas from the World Heritage Site and air quality in the area. We are therefore considering further pressing for call-in by the Secretary of State.
We gave evidence and answered questions from the London Mayor at the Public Hearing held yesterday. You can see the proceedings here:
John Ricketts on behalf of the Kew Society gave his evidence about 1 hour and 36 minutes into the hearing if you wish to look at the recording. Alongside the London Borough of Hounslow, Historic England, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Brentford Community Council we presented our evidence citing relevant planning requirements in the National Planning Policy Framework, the London Plan and Hounslow Council’s Local Plan. We asked the Mayor to reject the revised proposal and, like Historic England, confirmed we would ask for call-in by the Secretary of State to reconsider should the Mayor decide to approve the scheme.
You can see the evidence we submitted in writing here: Citroen site Kew Society written representation for Hearing
And the notes John used for speaking here: Citroen site representation hearing speaking notes
The London Mayor will be making a site visit towards the end of August to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to see for himself the potential harm to vistas from the World Heritage Site. He undertook to make his decision within 5 days of the site visit and to notify us and others who spoke of his decision.
We will be speaking at the Hearing at City Hall on 20th July.
We are submitting further comments reinforcing our earlier objections. We will speak at the Representation Hearing, which is open to the public, at City Hall on 20th July. The agenda for the Hearing with the Officer’s report and recommendation to the Mayor will be on the GLA website here 7 days before the Hearing: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/planning-applications-and-decisions/public-hearings/citroen-site-public-hearing
The developer has now submitted revisions in support of this application, including provision of 441 residential units (an increase of 14 on the previous application); provision of 50% affordable housing, including an increase in the number of family units within the rented tenure; an increase in the height of Building 3 from 15 to 17 storeys; an increase in size of 5 of the houses from 2 to 3 bedrooms; relocation of the residents’ gym to the north-east side of the site; relocation of the energy centre; alterations to windows and glazing to increase daylight levels; reduction of on site parking by 6 spaces to a total of 63; an increase in cycle parking spaces by 196 to a new total of 881 spaces.
We are considering making further representations to oppose the over development of this site.
The planning application was refused permission by Hounslow Council but has been called in by the London Mayor. The development is within a new “Opportunity Area” identified as having the capacity to accommodate at least 7,500 new homes and 14,000 new jobs. The Mayor is looking to increase the proportion of affordable housing and has said “I will of course weigh up concerns raised about the impact on nearby heritage sites with the pressing need for more new and affordable homes in London.” The application will be considered at a hearing at City Hall later this year.
We have submitted objections to the redevelopment of this site which would provide a mixed use scheme of 427 residential units (Class C3) including 40% affordable housing with ancillary facilities, flexible uses (within Classes A1, A2, A3 and B1) and a nursery (Class D1). It would comprise buildings of 12, 13, 15, 16 and 18 storeys in height, with associated cycle and car parking, playspace, landscaping and public realm improvements. We focused our comments on the need to consider this scheme in the context of the aggregate effect of the large number of proposed developments within the small area between Kew Bridge Station and Chiswick Roundabout, including the new Brentford Stadium (buildings up to 17 storeys), the proposed Capital Interchange Way development (three tower blocks up to 20 storeys high), L&Q’s Wheatstone House development near Chiswick Roundabout, the Chiswick Curve (currently in appeal) and the proposed Hudson Square development on the north side of Chiswick Roundabout. The future of the Fountains leisure Centre may also be uncertain. We commented that the key issues were:
- the proposed scheme contributes to the massive over development of this small area;
- this results in a cluster of tall and frankly, in aggregate, unattractive tower blocks;
- the prospect of a material and exponential increase in traffic congestion and pollution where the South and North Circular arteries – and the A4 leading westwards – are already frequently heavily clogged. Pollution levels are already in excess of legal limits in the proposed area;
- a strain on public transport
- a deleterious effect on vistas eastwards and northwards from the Royal Botanic Gardens and the historic river front.
We said attention should also be paid to the adequacy of health and other services given the large proposed increase in local population, particularly the availability of increased GP practices and the adequacy of road widths for the anticipated increase in cycle traffic from all of the schemes.
We referred to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Hounslow’s Local Plan provisions in support of our objections.
The developers for this site are holding a public exhibition to seek views on their proposals before a planning application is made to Hounslow Council.
You can see what is proposed here: https://homesforbrentford.commonplace.is/
The exhibition is at Brentford Leisure Centre on Tuesday 5th September from 11.00 – 19.00 and on Thursday 7th September from 16.00 to 19.00.