Tuesday 13 May 2008

H&F Council Hits Town Hall Development Hitch

At the beginning of this year, H&F Council confidently announced their plans to build their new £multi-million office complex for local government officials on the site of Hammersmith's listed, art deco cinema - which was built in 1936. In doing so they concluded that St. James (who owns the site) had been unsuccessful and awarded the contract to Grainger/Helical Bar instead.

Now, there seems to be a snag. St. James, who bought the site in 2004, has put forward alternate plans that they say are "in line with planning policy to attract new retail into the town centre as well as providing homes for local people". St. James' plans differed from H&F Council's preferred developer in that they:
  • do not require the Pocklington Trust homes for the blind to be demolished
  • will not seek to demolish the Friends Meeting House
  • will not seek to build on the Council car park at the back of the current cinema

St. James says that if approved, work could begin in early 2009 and be completed by 2010. Meanwhile, Cllr. Mark Loveday, (Con) the person spearheading H&F Council's scheme and the officials, who had presumably hoped that their plans would run smoothly, are now talking about the possibility of "compulsory purchase orders" for the site.

Labour have long opposed this development as a waste of public funds. St. James are expected to put their plans before H&F Council's Planning Committee and if turned down by that panel they will probably seek to appeal above the Council's head. This all raises the spectre of some rather expensive legal bills and a further waste of tax payers' money. I'll let you know how this progresses.


Anonymous said...

Do you know how much the Grainger/Helical Bar scheme is budgeted to cost us?

AdamB said...

This is the same Helical Bar, whose chief executive Michael Slade and his colleague donated £30,000 to Boris Johnson's campaign and whose C.E has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Conservative Party.

Completely unrelated to this development of course.

Anonymous said...

I read that it is costing us thirty five million pounds!

Anonymous said...

It seems such a waste of money.

I had hoped that the counci would see sense after that awful thing Councillor Ivimy agreed to on Hammersmith Grove. I am still very cross about that.

Will this one be dealt with by Councillor Ivimy's planning committee? Surely, she would have a conflict of interest as one of our councillors for the Ravenscourt ward?

David Dunwoody said...

Just spotted this story. As a resident whose home is planned to be demolished, has anyone seen any updates on these plans since May?