Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Crunch time for Goldhawk

goldhawk redevelopmentH&F Council have a thing about developers, and this wednesday will see a final planning application decision which will affect the future look of Goldhawk Road for those that live in Brackenbury. The industrial estate  stands to be redeveloped by London & Newcastle into a dense mix of housing and commercial units which will sweep the existing small and thriving companies off the estate. None of these companies wants to leave. The Council seem not too fussed about the impact this would have on existing residents, who are up in arms and running a campaign to save their neighbourhood.

One resident commented “The estate is surrounded by a residential area. Traffic, parking stress, noise, light pollution, security problems, intrusion - this redevelopment package has got everything. And it would mean the loss of a light industrial estate which nurtured JC Decaux and is currently home to Innocent Drinks and The Soundhouse, one of the capital's busiest recording studios,”

In fact at this meeting last week it did seem a bit bizarre that we were hearing about how Thames Water were trying to stop people being flooded with sewage in eactly this area yet this development would be connecting lots more people to a system that is unable to cope with the strain already on it. Several residents cited this planning application specifically as an example of the council putting profits before people.

The council are quite clear that they want the redevelopment to go ahead and accordingly planning officers have given their masters the recommendation they wanted. Residents are dead set against it however, and commissioned Patrick Clarkson QC to advise them. His advice to residents, the summary of which I have printed below, is pretty devastating. He states that the proposed development is not in accordance with planning policy, is in detriment to the local area and "should not be allowed". Surely this can't now be nodded through? At the very least it looks like it needs more thinking about if not abandoning altogether if even some of this advice is accurate. Given the QC in question is one of the top planning lawyers in the UK its fair to assume what he says is indeed accurate.

The meeting will be this wednesday at 7pm, Hammersmith Town Hall. Report to follow.

Patrick Clarkson QC's advice:

Density: the application scheme is overdeveloped and too dense, creating substandard accommodation. The density is not endorsed by the London Plan, contrary to the assertion in the LBHF PAC Report.

Land Use: the Estate is not a brownfield site (ref PPS3), contrary to the assertion in the LBHF PAC Report. The existing use provides 3500sq m (including mezzanine floors) fully serviced commercial space housing successful businesses employing over 180 persons, including Innocent Drinks, who have been on the Estate since the firm began, and Soundhouse Ltd, who have been on the Estate for over 20 years in high quality sound recording studios used by the BBC and film companies.

The application scheme provides 2003 sq m commercial space, of lower quality commercial standard in every respect, being in a residential setting, no street frontage, limited parking, and wholly unsuitable for the type of entrepreneurial business operations currently thriving on the site.

Design: the proposals ignore Council and London Plan policies iterated in many sources requiring developments adjacent to conservation areas to protect, preserve and enhance both the conservation area and the existing neighbourhood; irrespective of visual style, the bulk massing, the scale and the street layout is quite alien to the Brackenbury area.

Amenity: no children’s play area is provided, without cause which might allow financial contribution in lieu . The proposed Home Zone recreation and play area provides for the access and turning area for delivery vehicles and is unsafe for children.

Conclusion: the application contravenes planning policy and is detrimental to the neighbourhood and should not be allowed.


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