Planning News – October 2019

There has been a lot happening over the last several months with regard to Planning Applications. The reality of our current planning system is that it is skewed against those who object to a development, as it is based around a “presumption in favour of development”. As a result (as you see below) we do not always win the argument; but by objecting, and being seen to object we are able to exert influence to improve the proposals even if they are ultimately approved.

Tesco / Homebase development

This is the major proposed development in our area as it is both the biggest (by far) in the last few years and the one that will have the greatest impact on our area. We have reported on this in multiple eNewsletters and via articles on our website.

The developer is St. Edward, a joint venture between Berkeley Homes and the Prudential. Their proposal is for

  • Homebase site. Demolition of the existing Homebase building, to replace it with a building covering the whole of the site. This will include a new Tesco store (ground floor), car parking for 450 cars (1st and 2nd floor) and a complex of tower blocks of varying heights up to 16 storeys high in total for 550 flats
  • Tesco site. Demolition of the existing store and replacement with a complex of tower blocks of up to 16 storeys in height for up to 1,650 flats, plus a “new public park”.

We have had multiple meetings with the developer and they have held a Public Exhibition of their proposals and have opened a consultation centre outside the Tesco store to listen to feedback from local residents. In addition they have launched consultation webpages and Facebook sites.

We are working with the developer to try and arrive at a proposal that the residents of Osterley will view as a valued asset in the area which respects the special character of our area.  We recognise that the pressure on housing requires that these sites be developed to provide new housing, but hope that this can be done in such a way as to add to Osterley rather than dominate it.

We strongly encourage local residents to make their views known to the develop via the means explained above.

Adini Office development

It has now transpired that an appeal against LB Hounslow’s refusal of this application was submitted within the required timeframe. However we were not notified of this because the Planning Inspectorate was waiting to allocate an Inspector with the requisite set of experience. They have now commenced this appeal, and OWGRA have submitted our objections to this appeal. We wait with interest to hear the results of this appeal.

Osterley Station Car Park development

There has been quite a bit of progress on this proposed development. Following their previously reported public exhibition of their initial proposal (for a complex of flats up to 10 storeys high), the developer came back with a revised set of proposals. These were a noticeable improvement, with the maximum height reduced to 6 storeys and the development much more sympathetic to the Grade II-listed Osterley Station next door, in style, height and overall design. However we still had a number of concerns which we explained to the developer including the impact on nearby roads and the quality of life for the proposed residents with balconies right on the edge of the Great West Road.

We explained all of these to the developer. They stated that they would take note of our feedback and that they were planning to submit a Planning Application in August. To date none has been submitted and we wait to hear the next step on the proposal.

Osterley Hotel Shisha lounge

This hotel has been under new management for some months now and we have been impressed with how they have been doing it. The complex is now being run effectively as an integrated hotel / restaurant / bar / catering / banqueting suite operation. The new management have agreed that a Shisha Lounge does not fit comfortably within such an operation, and as a result have withdrawn this application and advised us they will not be progressing any further with it.

As you may recall, the impact of the proposals would have been to convert the existing conservatory from a multi-function, flexible and comfortable space into an open (on 3 sides), draughty (Shisha) smoking area. The withdrawal of these proposals preserves this local asset, with this area now operating as a new Indian restaurant.

Brentford Football Club Training Ground (Jersey Road)

Following on from our previous update on this, we submitted our response to the Planning Application, in which we supported it but asked for a number of conditions to be attached to the approval. The developer made some detail changes to the application, none of which affected our previous support for the application, and resubmitted it to the council. The Planners recommended approval of it, and supported effectively all of our requested conditions as part of the approval.

As a result we did not comment further, and the application was approved by the council recently.

Shisha lounge on Spur Road Isleworth

A retail unit on Spur Road, right next to the Green School, recently opened up as a Shisha Lounge, consisting of an internal café area (the original layout of the premises) and an external open seating area on the pavement for shisha smoking. It transpired that this did not have planning permission and the council instigated enforcement action. A retrospective planning application was then submitted. We objected to this because on the basis that is an inappropriate location for such an operation, being so close to the school and the application was refused.

The applicant then appealed and the appeal decision was a split decision. The part of the appeal relating to the use of the internal area of the premises as a café was upheld. However that relating to the addition of the external area (used as a Shisha smoking area) was refused, with the inspector agreeing that the external area should not be granted planning permission.

Mobile Phone transmitter aerials

We have objected to a proposal for yet more masts on the Great West Road next to Jersey Gardens. Our concerns regarding these related to

  • The proposed masts being far taller than current ones (as high as 17.5 m) and as such will be far more visually obtrusive than current ones
  • The introduction of a sizable number of additional cabinets onto the street area, reducing the space for pedestrians and obstructing the view, resulting in a safety hazard.

The application was refused by LBH.

Redevelopments of family homes into multiple flats

We have objected to a number of these. There is a real shortage of family homes in the borough, yet developers are trying to convert these into what are, in most cases, a set of minimum-size flats / bedsits which will then be rented out. Thankfully, LBH agree in most cases with us, and have rejected a number of these applications. In addition they have taken enforcement action where developers try and get round this by going ahead with the redevelopment without seeking planning permission.

Dudley House Planning Condition removal

When this development of this building into a number of flats was approved, the council attached a number of planning conditions to the approval which were accepted by the developer. One of these forbade any resident of the flats from applying for a parking permit in the surrounding CPZ (a limited number of parking spaces were provided on site).

Once the development had been completed the developer asked for this condition to be removed. We objected on the basis that planning conditions are an integral part of planning approval, and are the way that groups such as ourselves can ensure that a development remains acceptable. Allowing the retrospective removal of them did, in our view, undermine this whole premise. Unfortunately the council did not agree and accepted the request.

172-174 Wood Lane

This was a very large family house on a road consisting of family houses. A developer proposed to demolish this and build a block of flats. We (and neighbours) objected with the result that a revised application was submitted. Whilst this was a little better, the substance of all our objections remained unchanged and we objected and spoke against it at the planning committee. Despite being able to convince almost half the planning committee, the proposal was (just !) approved.

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