Hounslow Council’s Local Plan
Hounslow Council is consulting on its approach to planning along the “Great West Corridor”. This is likely to include an as yet unspecified number of tall buildings. How tall is not yet specified, nor the locations. You can see the comments we have submitted on the draft Plan here:
and on the background paper on design and conservation here:
These are important policy documents which will frame planning approvals over the next few years. We are not opposed to tall buildings per se. But they need to be located in the right areas and in relationship to each other, be sympathetic to surrounding areas and respect heritage sites and key vistas. Take a look at the points we have made. Richmond Council has made similar points in their response to Hounslow and we have liaised with the numerous community groups in Hounslow.
Hounslow Council are consulting on their proposals for the “Great West Corridor” which they and the London Plan view as a good area for regeneration with business and employment growth as well as housing. As many of the buildings here are high rise, the Kew Society is very interested in the plans and we will be commenting, liaising with other community groups in Hounslow. Issues we are looking at include building heights, traffic and consequent congestion and air pollution issues, advertising and light pollution. You can see the consultation here
Hounslow Council adopted its Local Plan at its meeting earlier this week, on 15th September. We were very pleased to see that the Inspector who carried out the public Examination of the draft Plan to ensure it was sound and legally compliant accepted many of the changes we and others suggested in writing and at the Hearing itself. You can see his report and summary of required changes to the draft Plan here: Hounslow Local Plan Inspector’s report.
The Inspector’s comment, at paragraph 31 of his report, that he recognised “cross border impacts need to be considered” especially concerning tall buildings affecting heritage assets in the Borough and in neighbouring areas is very welcome.
We had a lot of concerns about the proposals for substantial re-development of the Great West Corridor, including the height of buildings and transport issues. If you look at his report at paragraphs 43-66 he has required a partial Local Plan review of this aspect of the plan, as well as for the “Heathrow Opportunity Area”, with a public consultation to start by the end of this year. We will be watching out for these consultations so that we can comment together with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Richmond Council and amenity groups in Hounslow who have similar concerns to ours.
The Inspector also accepted points we made on conservation and heritage, tall buildings and advertising. These are covered in issues 9, 10 and 11 of his report if you would like to look in more detail using the link above. The policy changes will be in Local Plan policy numbers SV1 and 2, CC1, CC3, CC4 and CC5 for those of you who want to look for yourselves. The required changes are listed in the Appendix to the Inspector’s report above.
The Local Plan is an important document as it sets out how Hounslow Council will approach planning applications. We are pleased that we managed to influence some positive changes to the consultation draft. This will help us in making future representations on applications affecting Kew as well as Hounslow residents .
We have submitted comments on revisions proposed in Hounslow’s draft Local Plan following the public hearing. The final report of the Inspector is expected in July and adoption of the finalised Plan by the Council in September. The Inspector will decide whether to re-open the Public Hearing before finalising the plan. This is unlikely but we would speak again if it were to be re-opened to ensure our concerns are heard.
We spoke at the Public Inquiry into Hounslow’s draft Local Plan alongside other amenity groups in Hounslow, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Richmond Council. There was a consistent voice from groups on both sides of the river seeking clarification of the draft tall buildings policy (policy CC3 in the draft plan on Hounslow Council’s website) as well as on placing of advertising (policy CC5), particularly where it is illuminated. The examining Inspector seemed to support some amendments which would make clearer in what circumstances and locations tall buildings would be acceptable. As the draft Plan says, this is a predominantly low rise and low lying area, making the impact of tall buildings and advertising sensitive for vistas from heritage sites and the Thames foreshore. The public hearings end on April 16th and we will keep an eye out for the finalised Plan.
We have been invited to speak at the next stage of the review of Hounslow’s Local Plan on 24th February.
The Independent Inspector appointed to review Hounslow Council’s Local Plan has now identified the issues he wishes to examine at public hearings from 10th-12th February. We have not been invited to speak but our written comments are being considered. Richmond Council will be speaking at the hearings as will amenity groups in Hounslow which have similar concerns to ours. Further hearings will be held on 24-26th February and 3rd-5th of March. Agendas for these dates will be published by Hounslow Council soon.
We have asked Hounslow Council to explain what engagement they have had with developers for a proposed 42 storey building at Chiswick roundabout which has been reported in the Press and how such a proposal can be considered in any way appropriate within their draft Local Plan. They have said that no application has as yet been made and that guidelines for the height of buildings would mean the highest rise buildings would be along “the Golden Mile” with buidlings around Chiswick roundabout limited to 6-8 storeys to take account of the urban context. We have asked them to confirm that they have therefore told the developer this proposal would be unacceptable. We have also asked how it is that the outline planning permission for enabling developements at nearby Lionel Road has been given when these are 9-17 storeys high. We have also asked to see their “Golden Mile Capacity Study”. We are concerned that high rise buildings will affect vistas which their draft Local Plan says they wish to protect, not just from Kew but within Hounslow and Ealing too, including Syon Park, Gunnersbry Park, the London Museum of Water and Steam and the Thames foreshore. High rise buildings would also have lighting impacts.
We have said that we support the regeneration of Brentford and Hounslow and the need for more housing in London but this should be achieved in a sustainable way, respecting the local context and taking account of the impacts on traffic and associated pollution levels which are already too high in many parts of London.
We have copied Local Councillors, Richmond Council, Zac Goldsmith MP, the Royal Botanic Gardens and local community groups in Hounslow into our correspondence. Zac has contacted Hounslow Council asking for a prompt response.
We have submitted detailed comments to Hounslow on their Local Plan which is currently out for consultation. We particularly raised concerns over height limits for buildings near the river and close to sensitive historic sites, and the effects of light pollution, air pollution and traffic from new developments. We copied our comments to Richmond Council who have added their own objections, supporting some of the points we made.