H&F Council proposes to allow London & Newcastle to pack fifty-seven houses and eight business units into an area that currently only accommodates a fraction of that. The Brackenbury Residents Association and Providence Villas Plus arranged a well attended public meeting back in January - which I chaired. Many people also attended a planning forum in June. Over that period, residents have gained an expert knowledge of the Council’s planning guidelines and point out that the scheme recommended by H&F Council officers should not go ahead for many reasons - some being:
- The development (especially the big block) is too dense for the site and fails to meet H&F Council’s own guidelines about amenity space.
- The proposed buildings will overlook many of the surrounding homes and gardens breaching H&F Council’s own Unitary Development Plan.
- One hundred and eighty two local jobs will be lost as businesses such as Innocent Drinks, The Soundhouse Studios and others are forced to move out.
- There will be extra traffic and noise as the site is opened up to 24/7 usage.
- The development fails to provide parking for visitors, thus further adding to parking stress for neighbouring residents.
- Brackenbury School, adjacent to the site, is already over-subscribed and will be unable to accommodate the extra children.
Many local people have expressed concern about the Conservative Administration's lack of even-handedness pointing out that it has been in private discussions with the developer for almost two years. Our council then accepted payment from London & Newcastle for an advertisement in its widely circulated propaganda sheet and had the Council’s press office publish a positive story about the scheme while refusing to publish any residents’ letters that offered an alternative view. Add in our Conservative councillors publicly funded trips to the French Riviera - which the Council explained was so they could meet property speculators to discuss "contentious" sites across the borough; then take a look at this video to witness the shifty uneasiness the Tories obviously felt while responding to residents’ questions on a different scheme and it's understandable why residents feel their legitimate concerns are not a priority for H&F's Tory run Council.
In fact, the Tories had actually sought to send the application to the PAC on 5th August – knowing that hundreds of local people had objected to the scheme but that many would be away on holiday and unable to attend. They almost certainly did this to limit any public demonstration. That plot was only scuppered when the Environment Agency called in the application because of concerns about flooding.
So, next week’s PAC promises to be interesting. Residents wanting to turn up to protest against this blot on the Hammersmith landscape should turn up to the Town Hall in King Street. The meeting will begin at 7.00pm and the Goldhawk Industrial Estate is the first item on the agenda. I shall see you there.