Land at Chiswick Roundabout Public Inquiry
Chiswick Curve (Hounslow Council ref P/2015/5555 and 5560 and appeal refs APP/F5540/W/17/3180962 and APP/F5540/Z/17/3173208)
A further timetable revision for this public inquiry is available here: Inquiry Programme 13 6 18
The Inquiry started today with opening statements, including from the Kew Society. Several of your Committee attended and thank you to other members who came along too. There is a revised timetable which you can see here:
The timetable may well change again so keep an eye out but do come along if you can so there is no doubt about public concern.
A revised timetable is available for this Public Inquiry, starting this coming Tuesday 12th June. You can see it here
The timetable may change, but the Kew Society expects to make its opening statement on Tuesday 12th June alongside the London Borough of Hounslow, Historic England, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, all opposing the development. We expect to be speaking again on several dates as shown in the programme, subject to timetable changes. The Skyline Campaign, the London Forum, representing amenity groups across London, and 4 local amenity groups like ours, north of the river, will also be speaking against the development. We welcome members support at the inquiry which is open to all to come along and hear the evidence presented.
The Kew Society has submitted its proofs of evidence for this appeal inquiry. We support points made by others against this development and have focused our evidence on the traffic and air quality issues. You can see what we have said in the 3 documents here:
The Kew Society is due to give evidence at this appeal Inquiry on 21st June. The Inquiry opens on 12th June at Brentford Free Church, Boston Manor Road, Brentford TW8 8DW and is expected to finish on 4th July.Other organisations appearing at the Inquiry to give evidence against the development include Hounslow Council on 12th-14th June, Historic England on 14th-15th June, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew on 19th-20th June, the London Forum, community groups – Brentford Community Council, West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society, Friends of Gunnersbury Park, and Strand on the Green Association – and individuals on 21st June, as well as the Kew Society. The developer, Starbones, will present their evidence on 26th-28th June and s.106 conditions will be examined on 29th June. Closing submissions will be made on 4th July.The exact timings can change but this is the current expectation. You can view any changes to the timetable in the documents section of this website: https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?Caseid=3180962&CoID=0
On the basis of analysis of the Statements of Case and the application materials for this appeal Inquiry the Inspector has confirmed that the main issues he will examine in relation to Appeal A (Chiswick Curve) are:
- the effect of the proposals on the character and appearance of the area (the design effect);
- the effect of the proposals on the setting and thereby the significance of a range of designated heritage assets (the heritage issue);
- the acceptability or otherwise of the affordable housing provision (the affordable housing issue);
- whether the proposal would provide reasonable living conditions for prospective occupiers in terms of access, amenity space, and air quality, in particular (the living conditions issue);
- whether any other impacts can be successfully mitigated (the s.106 issue); and
- any other matters including the impact on the living conditions of nearby residents (other matters).
For Appeal B – advertising hoardings on the proposed building – the main issues will be impact of the proposal on amenity and public safety.
Proofs of evidence and statements of common ground will be submitted by 8 May.
This appeal is very significant for west London and heritage sites in the area, including the Royal Botanic Gardens.
The Kew Society, which has Rule 6 status for this Inquiry, is submitting its Statement of Case and will appear at the Inquiry which is scheduled to last 15 days from 12th to 29th June. There is a preliminary hearing on 20th March.
We are pleased to see that the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew have also been granted Rule 6 status to appear at the appeal hearing. Historic England submitted its Statement of Case against the development on 9th November.
This appeal has now been called in for decision by the Secretary of State, This means that instead of writing a decision, the Planning Inspector will prepare a report and recommendation, which will be forwarded to the Secretary of State. Our request to participate in the pre-inquiry hearing under Rule 6 (6) has been accepted. The pre-inquiry hearing with the Inspector is now scheduled for 20 March 2018 and the decision is likely to be made in June 2018.
Zac Goldsmith MP has objected as has Ruth Cadbury MP (Brentford and Isleworth),
The developers, Starbones Ltd, are now appealing the decision of Hounslow Council to turn down their application. We are considering further representations for the appeal inquiry which may last 3 days or more.
The application (Hounslow ref P/2017/1361 or 00505/EY/P19) for 2 large LED screens on a single tall pole on the Chiswick Curve site was fortunately turned down by Hounslow on 31 May 2017. Starbones may yet appeal as they have done for the refused “on-building” LED screens earlier refused for the Chiswick Curve application.
Although slightly revised by the developer after their initial 2015 application, the proposal for a massive twin tower (32 storeys – 120 metres high) skyscraper at Chiswick Roundabout has at last, unanimously, been turned down by Hounslow planning committee. The project would have involved over 320 residential flats, offices, retail/restaurant units with 3 large electronic advertising displays, all on a tiny site at the entrance to B & Q. The structures would have towered over west London impacting the views from both Kew Green Conservation Area and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Local amenity societies north of the river were also active in their opposition and Barbara Weiss of the “Skyline” campaign spoke against it at a public meeting against the project coordinated by the societies, including The Kew Society. This may not mean the end of adventurous proposals for this site, but at least there may be a pause for thought.
This application is to be considered at Hounslow Council’s Planning Committee on 12th January. We understand that the recommendation from Council officers is for refusal.
An amended application has been submitted slightly reducing the number of flats and reducing the large LED advertising screens from 4 to 3.
Public meeting held 27 April 2016
A public meeting was held on 27 April to discuss what is now being called the Chiswick Curve. Here is an audience photo of the well-attended and lively meeting. Hounslow Council are still considering the application.
Attached is a draft press release of the proceedings.
Public Meeting, Wednesday 27th April 7.30pm at St Michael and All Angels Church, Bedford Park, Chiswick. W4 1TT (close to Turnham Green Tube Station). Andrea Lee, a Healthy Air Campaigner with Client Earth will speak on Air Quality and Barbara Weiss, the architect and co-founder of the Skyline Campaign will speak on Tall Buildings. The meeting will be chaired by Rowan Moore, architecture critic of the Observer.
Come to this meeting to hear from key speakers and express your views on this 32 storey residential skyscraper proposal. See poster for more details
We have submitted our objections to this development, including the proposed illuminated advertising on the building facades. You can see what we have said on the tower blocks and the advertising below;
We are very pleased to see that Richmond Council has also raised strong objections. You can read their letter here.
Remarkably, and unlike most Councils, it is not possible to view on Hounslow Council’s website all the comments made on planning applications. We know that many objections have been made on the Chiswick Curve – at least 400 in fact we have been told by Hounslow Council.
Surely this lack of transparency should be addressed by Hounslow in the interests of proper community engagement. The community has a right to know the issues being raised and the strength of the arguments made on which, presumably, the Council will base its decision.In the meantime local amenity societies have agreed to coordinate copies of their objections so they can all be seen publicly on the Brentford Community Council website: http://www.brentfordcc.org.uk/
A planning application has now been submitted for 31 and 24 storey tower blocks at a site opposite the B&Q on Chiswick roundabout. We will be objecting and liaising with other community groups in Hounslow. Hounslow Council’s website is far less transparent than Richmond’s in that it does not show comments made on applications – something we have suggested community groups in Hounslow raise with their Council. You can however see the application here.
Potential skyscrapers in Brentford
You may have seen the recent press coverage of proposals for a new skyscraper near Chiswick roundabout to rival some of the tallest buildings in London. We contacted Hounslow Council to ask what was proposed here and how any such proposal could be considered compatible with the Council’s policies on appropriate developments sensitive to the character of local surroundings. We have also involved our local MP, local ward Councillors and Richmond Council officials. Hounslow have advised that no application has been made as yet but that the developers have sought confidential pre-application advice. We have made the point to Hounslow that if the developer considers this proposal is in any way acceptable in this area, the Council should look again at its draft Local Plan to reconsider the clarity of its statements on the need to respect the character of the area and the impact of high rise buildings on vistas from the Thames foreshore, Gunnesbury Park, Syon Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens as well as other heritage sites in the area.